Crack addiction devastates families, jobs, relationships and health. Unfortunately, treatment programs are rarely successful and tough love is the only true option.
Crack addiction is the most terrible drug dependency there is in North America today. Crack is initially cheap to buy, easy to prepare and smoke, and instantly makes the user into an addict. Once addicted, less than 10% of crack users stop smoking the drug for good and change their lives. The remainder continue to go on binges which destroy their families, health and futures.
Why is Crack so Addictive?
Unlike cocaine or heroin, which is usually snorted or injected, crack is smoked from a pipe. Those individuals who already smoke nicotine or marijuana, are already susceptible to readily falling into the crack smoking habit. If they are prone to other addictions, especially to social drugs like alcohol, then their transition to crack is that much more straightforward.
Crack is often very easy to obtain and a rock can be bought for as little as $40-60. Of course, the high only lasts approximately seven minutes, thus the user quickly needs more crack. Crack binges often persist for several days before the user runs out of money. Then they either start selling or pawning things, including their bodies, or they begin to steal. At times, they straighten out when the money is gone for at least a period of time. By this point, they may have fallen into sex trade work or pornography, addiction to other drugs and a state of uncleanliness, poor nutrition, weight loss and insomnia.
Crack rarely causes withdrawal symptoms, apart from irritability and other minor reactions, thus it’s easier for the user to convince themselves that they don’t have an addiction or that it isn’t a serious problem. Of course, over the long term, crack use can cause a devastating range of symptoms, leading inevitably to heart failure and death.
Can Crack Users Recover?
Those who love the addict who has turned to crack are faced with a terrible decision. Does one listen to the user’s pleas for assistance, help towards recovery, perhaps with a 12-step program, respond to their implications of guilt, have hope? Or does one reject them and attempt to create a new life apart from them? Many people will give a crack addict a chance. The first time they fall into the habit, it’s easy to believe that they are sincere in their desire to quit. They may go to rehab, change their routine, cut up their bank cards, destroy their phone books or make other vital alterations to prove to their partners and families that they wish never to return to crack.
However, the sad fact is that the majority use crack again, within weeks, months or years after quitting. A stressful event may trigger their renewed addiction, or a damaging personality disorder, but, in the end, there’s no excuse that a user can make for their deadly habit, no one they can blame but their own weakness that has lead them into using a drug over which they have no true control.
Love will not heal them. One has no choice but to leave and hope that when they hit rock bottom they will seek assistance and eventually live a normal life, to accept that their drug use is not one’s responsibility, regardless of how much one may care for the individual. Families and spouses get readily caught up in the user’s web of deceit, cruelty, lies, hunger for money, sex and power. Cut ties with the crack addict to survive.