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Crack Addiction: 8 Signs Your Loved One Is Using

By Taylor Weeks
Find out how to spot the signs of crack addiction, including the health problems it can bring on.

If you’re worried that a loved one might be using crack, you can start to take action by learning more about this dangerous drug and the telltale signs that someone is addicted to it. Here are some key details you need to be aware of. 

Signs of Crack Addiction

1. The presence of the drug. Would you recognize crack if you saw it in your loved one’s home? It’s a type of cocaine that comes in the form of small, rock-like crystals that are various shades of white, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. 

2. Crack paraphernalia. Users smoke this drug, often from a narrow glass or metal pipe that may have a round bulb at the end, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Some create makeshift pipes with household items. A 2020 study in the International Journal of Drug Policy says these items can include:

  • Soft drink cans 
  • Glass bottles 
  • Plastic water bottles 
  • Lightbulbs 
  • Empty asthma inhalers 

You may notice black burn marks on any object that has been used to smoke crack.

3. Extreme bursts of energy. Crack is a type of drug called a stimulant, which means someone who’s high on it could have bursts of energy that are much more excessive than normal. Your loved one might: 

  • Talk rapidly
  • Act erratic or aggressively
  • Seem anxious or on edge

The high from smoking crack can last about 5-10 minutes, the National Institute on Drug Abuse says. But it can be more intense than the high from snorting powder cocaine.

4. Fatigue or changed sleep habits. When the effects of crack wear off, the extreme energy gives way to exhaustion. According to American Addiction Centers, your loved one may seem extremely tired and sluggish, and they could even sleep for days. 

5. Appetite changes. Your loved one may devour food incredibly fast, or they may completely lose their appetite. If they’re not eating, you may notice that they’re quickly losing weight.

6. Overdose. This is a medical emergency. Symptoms can include:

  • Enlarged pupils
  • Chest pain
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)

If your loved appears to be having any of these symptoms, call 911 right away. They could be having a heart attack, stroke, or another life-threatening problem.

7. Oral health problems. “One of the most obvious signs someone is suffering from a crack cocaine addiction is a rapid decline of oral health,” William L Balanoff, DDS, a clinical dentist and prothodontist, tells WebMD Connect to Care. Balanoff says crack use can cause: 

  • Bleeding in the mouth 
  • Gum recession
  • Rapid tooth decay

8. Withdrawal symptoms. Someone who’s addicted to crack can have uncomfortable or dangerous symptoms when they stop taking it. These symptoms can include:

  • Muscle pain
  • Diarrhea and fever
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts

Get Help Now

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help. 

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