Crack is a highly addictive drug, but there are treatments for people who use it regularly. There are two main types of treatments: medication and cognitive or behavioral therapy. As of November 2004, no medication exists to treat crack addicts, but the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is researching several promising options. The drug Selegiline, used to treat Parkinson's disease, is under investigation for its ability to reduce dopamine metabolism. Disulfiram, which has been used to treat alcoholism, is another candidate. The drug creates a negative physical reaction (nausea, vomiting, etc.) whenever the addicted person ingests alcohol. Researchers are hoping that it might help people who are addicted to both cocaine and alcohol. Antidepressants are sometimes prescribed to treat the mood swings associated with the withdrawal process.
Behavioral therapies are currently the most common way to treat crack addiction. Patients may be treated at either inpatient or outpatient centers. In 2002, 176,000 people were admitted to treatment centers for addiction to smoked cocaine, according to the Treatment Episode Data Set produced by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Crack admissions represented just under 10 percent of all admissions into drug- and alcohol-related treatment centers in 2002.
One of the most popular behavioral therapies is contingency management, which rewards addicts for staying drug-free by giving them vouchers for everything from movies to gym memberships. Another approach is cognitive-behavioral therapy, which teaches people how to avoid and/or deal with situations in which they might be tempted to use crack. People with severe addictions, mental illness or a criminal record may need to stay at a therapeutic community for a six- to 12-month period while they undergo rehabilitation and learn how to reenter society drug-free.
To learn more about crack cocaine, other drugs, treatment methods and related topics, check out the links below.
More Great Links
- "Crack and Cocaine" by David Browne
- Psychological Effects of Cocaine and Crack Addiction, by Ann Holmes
- Crack in America: Demon Drugs and Social Justice, by Craig Reinarman and Harry Gene Levine
- Crack and Cocaine Drug Dangers, by Paul R. Robbins, Ph.D.
- Fast Lives: Women Who Use Crack Cocaine, by Claire E. Sterk
- Arkangel, Carmelito, MD. "Cocaine Abuse," eMedicine, June 9, 2002.
- "Cocaine Abuse and Addiction," National Institute on Drug Abuse Research Report, May 1999.
- Crack Cocaine, StreetDrugs.org.
- Executive Office of the President Office of National Drug Control Policy, "Cocaine Fact Sheet," November 2003.
- Haasen, Christian, et al. "Cocaine Use in Europe - A Multi-Centre Study." European Addiction Research 2004; 10:139-146.
- National Drug Intelligence Center, "Crack Cocaine Fast Facts." Accessed November 8, 2004.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse, "InfoFacts: Crack and Cocaine." Accessed November 8, 2004.
- Office of National Drug Control Policy. "Crack - Facts & Figures." Accessed November 8, 2004.
- "Pulse Check: Trends in Drug Abuse, January-June 2002." Executive Office of the President Office of National Drug Control Policy, November 2002.
- Blake, Mariah. "The Damage Done: Crack Babies Talk Back," Columbia Journalism Review, Issue 5, September/October 2004.
- "Schumer: New Data Shows Westchester Becoming Vulnerable to Crystal Meth," DEA Press Release, August 5, 2004.
- "Study Questions 'Crack Baby' Syndrome," HealthDayNews, July 16, 2004.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection. "Drug Interdiction Statistics by Fiscal Year."
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and SAMHSA's National Clearinghouse for Alcohol & Drug Information, "Tips for Teens: The Truth About Cocaine."
- U.S. Department of Justice, "What's Up With Cocaine & Crack?"