Also known as: Freebase, Base, Rocks, Stones, Wash, Pebbles, Gravel.

How it’s used

Crack cocaine is a smokeable form of cocaine which is made by chemically altering cocaine powder to form crystals or rocks (about the size of a raisin). It is called crack because it makes a crackling sound when it is being burnt. Crack is usually smoked in a pipe, glass tube, plastic bottle or in foil. It can also be injected.

Short-term effects

•    Crack is also a short acting stimulant drug but the effects are much stronger than cocaine
•    Creates an immediate intense euphoria which peaks after about 2 minutes and lasts for around 10 minutes
•    The “high” feeling can induce hallucinations, huge mood swings and paranoia
•    Aggression and violence
•    Users report feeling alert, energetic and confident
•    Dry mouth, loss of appetite, sweating, increased heart and pulse rate
•    Once the high has worn off (after about 20 minutes), it is followed by a long low crash which can be associated with strong cravings to take more

Long-term effects

•    Increased anxiety, nervousness and psychotic behaviour
•    Chronic coughing, cracked wheezy breathing and partial loss of voice
•    Breathing problems and damage to lungs
•    Difficulty sleeping
•    Weight loss
•    Debt

Other dangers

•    Risk of overdosing increases if mixed with heroin, barbiturates or alcohol
•    High doses can raise the body’s temperature, cause convulsions and respiratory arrest.
•    Problems with anxiety, paranoia and panic attacks.
•    Loss of sexual desire, heart problems
•    Damage to veins if injecting
•    Risk of HIV and Hepatitis transmission if injecting equipment is shared
•    Increased libido can lead to risky sexual behaviours

If you are pregnant

Crack cocaine use during pregnancy can induce miscarriage, premature labour, smaller babies and congenital abnormalities. Babies born to mothers who are crack users during pregnancy will show withdrawal syndrome following birth.


Crack can quickly become both physically and psychologically additive. Tolerance increases over time and so users have to keep increasing their dose to get the same effect.


Tiredness and depression

How long does it stay in your system?

2-4 days.