Can you really use crack socially?


Crack is whack, that much is for certain. But whether or not it's inherently addictive is a whole 'nother question. In a piece on addiction myths—vaguely related to the existence of Charlie Sheen, if you're into that sort of thing—Time Healthland's Maia Szalavitz explains that, statistically speaking, trying crack once is not a one-way ticket to a life of giving hand-jobs behind the 7-11.

Although crack cocaine is indeed one of the most addictive drugs, Sheen's statement about social use is true of most people who have tried the drug, if by "social" you mean use that does not qualify you for a diagnosis of substance dependence. Far from being universally addictive, crack is actually unattractive to the majority of people who've tried it: only about 15%-20% of initial users become hooked.

Indeed, according to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 75.6% of those who tried crack between 2004 and 2006 were not using it at all two years later. Another 15% were still hitting the pipe occasionally, but not at levels that would qualify them as addicts. About 9.2% were addicted.

Now, that said, there's still plenty of good reasons to discourage crack use across the board. Not the least of which being the fact that a given individual has no way of knowing which category they'll fall into—Ho-hum or Hooked—until they've actually tried it. And for the people who end up hooked, that's already a bit a late.


    1. Crack or these studies?

      Also, I love this sentence;
      “…statistically speaking, trying crack once is not a one-way ticket to a life of giving hand-jobs behind the 7-11.”


  1. I recall reading somewhere that for any given substance, about 10% of people will become addicted to it. I don’t recall if it’s just that 10% of people in general have a higher tendency to addiction than the other 90% or if it’s more like a given substance is the particular key that fits into the lock of their addictive nature.

    1. I recall reading somewhere that for any given substance, about 10% of people will become addicted to it.

      Consider also:

      10% of people are left-handed (Wikipedia say 8% to 15%, I’m fudging a bit here).

      10% of people (indeed, apparently 10% of all animals) are homosexual.

      10% of everything isn’t crap (rephrasing of Sturgeon’s Law).

      Coincidence? or cosmic principle? Ten percent of you, judge for yourselves.

      1. 10% of people are left-handed (Wikipedia say 8% to 15%, I’m fudging a bit here).

        10% of people (indeed, apparently 10% of all animals) are homosexual.

        10% of everything isn’t crap (rephrasing of Sturgeon’s Law).

        Dude, it’s like looking into a text mirror of myself! You just BLEW MY MIND.

        (For certain values of “homosexual” and “not crap.”)

      2. 10% of people are teetotallers, which is fascinating to me. My girlfriend and niece are two I know personally. My niece’s story is especially puzzling as I come from a whole family of alcoholics and drug users.

        Interestingly, both these folks are naturally goofy people. My girlfriend has told me stories where she has met drunk people at parties, and thought she found kindred spirits, only to be disappointed later.

        My current working theory is that teetotallers are naturally drunk/high. They dislike being nudged out of this state. The rest of us are trying to GET to that state…

    2. I recall reading somewhere that for any given substance, about 10% of people will become addicted to it.

      I don’t think that’s true of ANY given substance. Monkey poop, for example.

      1. If you powder monkey poop and snort it, you can become addicted to it. You can become addicted to salt if you put it up your nose.

        1. Are you speaking from experience? I can only imagine the conversations with a back-alley turdmonger. “This is some real good shit, man! 100% Columbian Spider Monkey.”

          1. I’m pretty sure you’re getting ripped off. You can’t get real spider monkey any more- it’s mostly just lab-grown rhesus, usually cut with terrier or poodle.

  2. I smoked crack once. One single time. I wound up smoking about 200 bucks worth with one other person over the span of twelve hours.

    As soon as the first hit takes effect, your entire sense of morality goes straight out the window—everything feels RIGHT. Nothing feels wrong. After a few hours, you really just start chasing the high that the first hit gave you, but you can’t ever quite get there.

    For weeks and months, I would be going about my day, and all of a sudden, a strange thought would pop into my head: “I should buy some crack.” And I would stop in my tracks and marvel at the sticking power of that awful drug.

    It’s been over five years since I smoked crack that one time, and I can still taste that stem.

  3. I’ve never tried playing those odds. The fact that it ruins you for a while afterwards more than negates whatever fun it must be for a couple minutes. That same logic stops me at 4 beers.

  4. huh, according to the chart, crack has a dropoff rate of 75% but powder cocaine is only 57%. is it just the stigma associated with crack or is ol’ fashioned cocaine just that good?

    1. The chart just shows the percentage of people that have continued use in the next year. This could be for different reasons. One, social stigma, you have already mentioned. There could be others like, the high from crack is too strong (not as easy to function), they don’t like the strong jones feeling from it (but that would probably impact coke use as well), or it’s not as easy to hit a crack pipe in a club as it is to sniff off a bullet.

  5. It’s silly to imagine that a single use of any addictive substance would lead directly to chemical dependance. Anyone who’s ever used any drug understands that’s not how it works. After doing it, you feel GOOD. Then you want to feel good again. And again. Then it takes more to feel good, and that good feeling is never quite as nice as the first few times (chasing the dragon)… then you are down the road to chemically addicted. A few lines or a hit every rare once in awhile should be fine, but the challenge is to keep it that, rare. Then of course there are the people who don’t feel good when they get high, and never do it again. Yeah, they have little risk of addiction.

    1. It’s silly to imagine that a single use of any addictive substance would lead directly to chemical dependance.

      William Burroughs (probably the world’s foremost self-taught authority on drug use and addiction) speculated about a drug so powerful that one dose would cause fatal addiction — that is, after the first dose, you will die without a second dose (and subsequent doses).

      Philip K. Dick, in turn, used this idea as the basis for JJ-180, the mind-wrecking time-travel drug, in his novel Now Wait For Last Year.

  6. As a former convenience store clerk, I can proudly say that the people we shooed away from behind our dumpster weren’t under the influence of anything stronger than a 16-year-old’s dose of testosterone. Which, to be fair, makes crack look like Skittles.

    Anyway, my point being, the crack/handjob correlation is even weaker than the study makes it look.

  7. Clearly, Charlie Sheen knows exactly where the line is, and is setting a fine example for high-functioning, “social” crackheads, everywhere.

    With the support of his employer, and his porn family, we can expect to enjoy new episodes of “Two and a Half Men”, for many years to come…

  8. I’ve smoked crack, shot heroin, and coke. Actually, I’ve done over 50 different recreational drugs. People have always told me that I’d get hooked, usually they are former addicts. They just can’t seem to get it through their heads that most people are not like them. Interestingly, I find them to be the most outspoken proponents of drug prohibition.

    I’ve intentionally taken addictive drugs (amphetamine, and clonezipam) daily for a period of months in seeking treatment, but quitting was always very easy. Sure, I had physical symptoms, but mentally I never have had that desire to keep taking the drug that addicts talk about.

    I often wonder what separates the casual user from the addict. People talk about willpower, but I have none: I eat horrible food, stay up late, don’t exercise, and buy useless crap. One think I have found is that addicts need SOMETHING to be addicted to, it can be something good like exercising, or something bad like gambling, but they always seem to replace one addiction with another. I suppose addiction is a bit like sexuality: Some people are completely heterosexual, some people are completely homosexual, but most people are somewhere inbetween. The desire to take drugs obsessively does not seem to be a black and white situation, but shades of gray. It would be nice if there were some test for addiction, until then addictive drug use is pretty risky.

  9. Hah hah! Crack’s fine! It’s that pesky media that’s a problem.

    No. It’s not. There are hundreds of houses within ten miles of me where everyone from the pregnant teen kid to the grandmother is smoking crack. The fact that it has only a 1 in 10 chance of the horrors of addiction, imprisonment, and death is not funny. If there was a one in ten shot on Wheel of Fortune to go to the gutter and die, you wouldn’t laugh; you’d call it f_ed up.

    BoingBoing editors: since you seem to be so interested in blithely commenting on drugs and addiction, *please* get an education about addiction. You make ignorant statements and then ignorant commentators pile on, claiming that it’s easy for everyone to stop, that NA and AA are for weirdos. People act like their sample of one should stand for the whole world.

    I love this blog. The postings I don’t like, I don’t need to read. But when you’re posting on things that affect other people in the most un-wonderful of ways, it is really disturbing. Please stop spreading the ignorance and start understanding this issue.

    1. They never said crack was fine. It’s just not nearly as bad as the hype (one puff = addiction). It’s still bad but lying to people has been shown not to work (read: DARE).

      1. Totally. One puff will not necessarily equal addiction. That is a fine headline. That is educational.

        However, suggesting social use is irresponsible, whether Time says it or not.

        Why? Becuase a 10% chance is NOT LOW when the consequences are very, very bad.

        I’m guessing that if a friend or family member had a ten-chamber revolver to her temple with only one bullet in it, you would plead with her not to pull the trigger. You would treat each trigger pull as a very real likelihood of death, which it is.

        I would say that suggesting that Russian Roulette might be a social game is almost as irresponsible. In fact, promoting Russian Roulette is actually much safer for two reasons:

        1. There’s no possible upside
        2. The consequences are immediate and obvious, which makes them easier for humans to resist. Crack’s consequences are delayed and easily ignored. Dangling it in front of people as a feasible “social” option promotes more people getting sucked in.

        1. The statistical truth is that it is possible to use crack socially. This should be recognized as fact. If you tell people that it is not possible to socially use crack and they go on to find out that your claim was untrue, that leads them to discount all your statements about drugs including the ones that are true. This is a problem, and it is precisely the problem that has been encountered with DARE. The truth is scary enough. There is no need for hyperbole.

        2. Also, simply saying a thing is possible is not the same as suggesting that people go out and do that thing.

          And people rape to get it????? Bullshit!!!

          1. This is not unlike running the headline: Is SKR a Child Molester?

            Such a question implies that there is a legitimate debate. This kind of leading headline is something that BoingBoing has actively campaigned against in other debates. So yes: questions can mislead and suggest.

            Regarding your other point: I should have said, “submit to” rape. People will put themselves in situations where they know this will happen, or is highly likely to happen.

          2. The title of the post is a reference to the talk Charlie Sheen gave to some college baseball players about drug use. I would be willing to bet that every single editor on Boing Boing has witnessed people whose lives have been destroyed by drug use, thankfully this doesn’t mean that they are willing to whitewash facts when it comes to drug information. You are coming off as easy to dismiss because you are trying to protect everyone from something that no one here is thinking of doing. NO ONE who read the post thinks it’s now a great idea to smoke crack, many of us find the pure facts interesting. We are intelligent and able to balance risk rewards you don’t need to hold our hands or try to protect us from anything. It’s offensive to treat people as if they are that stupid.

          3. This is not unlike running the headline: Is SKR a Child Molester?

            Actually, it is quite a bit different. In the case of crack, there is evidence that supports the claim that it is a drug that can be used casually by some people, contrary to the accepted dogma. In the case of whether I am a child molester, there is no evidence to support such a claim.

          4. There is no evidence in the study supporting casual use. It supports the statement that many people can use it a few times and stop. Those two things are not equal. That is what I am saying.

            According to that study, 85% people have used heroin and stopped. That doesn’t mean heroin is suited to casual use.

          5. The study shows that the percentage of people that have used in the previous two years is higher than the percentage of people that are addicted. I take this to mean that casual use is possible for some population.

            Also, I know a couple people here in LA that occasionally smoked some crack. I think their wives have finally put the kibosh on that after the kids showed up. I wouldn’t call them consistent users by any stretch, but “consistent” is really shifting the baseline on your part.

        3. imag: However, suggesting social use is irresponsible, whether Time says it or not.

          Please go re-read Maggie’s post. How on Earth do you interpret that as “suggesting social use” in any way?

          1. “But whether or not it’s inherently addictive is a whole ‘nother question.” It’s proven to be addictive, per the study. That doesn’t mean it’s addictive to be 100% of the population.

            The fact that not everyone who tries crack continues to use it does not make social use a good idea. They are not equatable. The headline uses one to imply the other, and gives the idea of social use legitimacy by creating a debate.

            I am pretty sure that the vast majority of people who try it and move on would still say that it’s not a good drug to use socially or recreationally.

    2. Oh, don’t be so thin-skinned. It’s just a chemical. Some people can handle it; some can’t. But their failings in life come from within – crack is neutral.

      1. The same thing could be said of cyanide. It’s just a chemical. That doesn’t mean I would recommend the use of it in quantity.

        1. Nor should anyone get in a hissy fit when soemone posts about all the fun stuff you can do with cyanide, like extracting gold or organic synthesis.

          Fact is, crack feels REALLY good when you take it, lots of people like it, some of those people can enjoy it without runing their lives in the process, and there’s -nothing wrong- with calling attention to that subgroup.

  10. I’m glad that I’m not wired for coke & crack. I have friends who are/were and it screwed them up, big-time. I tried freebase once and didn’t like it, thank goodness.

  11. statistically speaking, trying crack once is not a one-way ticket to a life of giving hand-jobs behind the 7-11.

    You mean I could have been giving hand-jobs?


  12. Crack is really not more addictive than regular old cocaine. crack, like cocaine, provides a really quick high, which wears off relatively quickly. When you do enough of it, you feel relatively shitty afterwards, which makes some people want to do some more. The main problem with crack is that it is really fucking CHEAP. That means it is very susceptible to abuse by people in already crappy circumstances. This then contributes to the worsening of those circumstances, and further abuse (of crack and other substances). One result of this worsening cycle is the highly visible social impact of crack abuse, exacerbating already existing problems related to poverty.

    Also, I’m not seeing amphetamines on that list (unless it’s grouped in with “Inhalants,” which I had assumed includes solvents, paint, gas etc.). Amphetamines (specifically meth) are another example of economics contributing to the harm and social impact of abuse. Huffing just straight up kills you.

  13. Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) 1996 Interview…

    I know from revolutionary history that when the people get to pre-revolutionary times the first thing the enemy tries is drugs. I mean just any cursory look at revolutionary history will show you in China they pumped in opium. The Chinese took out the opium and whipped them. In Africa when the Algerians got ready to fight the French, they pumped hashish into Algeria…When they can’t stop revolution they going to slow it down…They see how fast the crisis is moving, they’ve got to drop the community, to drop them into criminality and…[drugs] is the only way to get us into criminality because of …the high level of morality we have as a collective force, not individually, but as a collective force.

    If you have read Dark Alliance by Gary Webb you already know that crack got into the black community through CIA agents and assets. As did LSD.

    So if crack is being pushed now I suspect it is the plutocracy controlled CIA that is pushing it. Drop us into drug use. It makes it easy to arrest anyone rebellious and results in a lot of lives being destroyed, lives that might have been dedicated to making change, change the plutocracy fears.

    1. You know, I’d call this kind of talk paranoia if I didn’t have an inkling of what our government is capable of.

  14. The crack in the pavement on the above graphic is actually a graph showing use of crack on the rise. I personally choose to never try anything where the worst case scenario would be that I would really like it. That said, I’m sure it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

  15. I did a lot of stupid stuff when I was younger (not that I am stupid-free today) and crack, two or three times, was one of them. The rush is eyes-rolling-in-the-back-of-your-head overwhelming. The pleasant effects lasts, at best, 20 minutes. Then, since you just twisted all the dopamine out of your brain like it was a wet rag, you want to do more. I’d say it’s inherently addictive. It’s fucking insidious. I don’t see how it could be used ‘socially’ but I’ve never partied at the advanced levels like Charlie Sheen.

  16. Sheen seems like a pretty poor example of a ‘social user’. If he wasn’t a valuable property to CBS, and was just a blue collar joe, he’d have an arrest record, would have lost his job, would find it almost impossible to pick up another one, and would probably have a lot more time to chase that dragon. I’m not sure situations like his exist in the real world, where even showing up late gets your ass canned.

  17. One factor to remember is that crack is pretty near the bottom of the drug food chain, and contains even more contaminants than most other drugs (regular cocaine, amphetamine, and ecstasy are bad enough in this regard).
    This doesn’t really make crack any healthier.

    And yes, you can probably be a casual user of crack, but cocaine (and crack cocaine) seems to actually rot the brain, giving the user this nice pattern of irreversible brain damage. That would explain that actor fellow, but what about all the people watching that godawful show, they can’t ALL be users?

  18. I’ve tried crack. It was horrid. I think the difference between the casual/social user versus the addict lies in the addict’s need to alter or negate awareness of material poverty or lack for however brief a time. Crack clearly has its own economic appeal for the dealer, who can take an amount of cocaine and turn it into considerably more crack. The drug gets pushed to the most desperate, who really can’t afford it, but in a sense of mental economy, can’t afford the stress of their situation. For relatively rich users, social use becomes another luxury: the comfort to dabble in yet another taboo fetish without worrying about tomorrow.

  19. Just cottoning on with those who point out that just because only 10-15% are still using a year later, it does NOT mean that the incredibly dangerous and addictive qualities of crack are ‘hype.’ I’m down with lots of drugs, but crack will pick you up, slam you down, and eat every bill in your wallet in all of twenty minutes. The pain, fear, and social stigma may ensure that most first-time users do not repeat the experience, but that is absolutely for a reason.

    The rush is indescribably good, the duration is only minutes, the jonesing will make you wish you’d never been born, and consequently it is patently impossible to take only one hit off the pipe. The 85% who never did it again didn’t stop after a hit because they didn’t like being high; they stopped after an episode because they smoked until they had nothing left to pay with, and then endured the swift, horrible slide into hell that comes after. Crack decomposes earth into heaven and hell; when you’re on it, you’re a god, when you’re off it, you’re damned, and even after a single try you have to painfully relearn that there’s anything in between.

    1. The rush is indescribably good, the duration is only minutes, the jonesing will make you wish you’d never been born, and consequently it is patently impossible to take only one hit off the pipe.

      This may have been true for you, but it isn’t the case for everyone.

      The 85% who never did it again didn’t stop after a hit because they didn’t like being high; they stopped after an episode because they smoked until they had nothing left to pay with, and then endured the swift, horrible slide into hell that comes after.

      This is pure supposition. Some people said, “Damn that was good, but it is very scary how quickly it hijacked my brain to want more. I think I will stay far far away from that.”

  20. imag: I don’t see where Maggie’s post says that social use of crack is a “good idea.”

    The post is only about whether or not crack is inherently addictive. A scientific finding that a drug is “not inherently addictive” is not the same as encouraging people to take the drug.

  21. I don’t see where Maggie’s post says that social use of crack is a “good idea.”

    See my post to SKR.

    A scientific finding that a drug is “not inherently addictive” is not the same as encouraging people to take the drug.

    The science didn’t find that crack was “not inherently addictive”. That’s what I’m saying. In fact, the study showed that crack dependence rates are second only to heroin. See “Risk for Developing Cocaine Dependence Following Initiation” in the cited scientific study (not the article):

    In fact, it appears that this post has even mislead you, which is evidence of exactly what I’m saying.

  22. My experience as an urban paramedic ran like this.
    Most substance abusers were trying to fuzz away reality in any that they could, the survival sex was just a way to afford some more temporary suicide and maybe a burrito.
    The main drug that I ran across which seemed to cause a downfall from normal life was alcohol. Other street drugs were as likely as gambling to ruin lives but nothing compared to alcohol, not even heroin was as bad.

    1. imag, dude….

      Your aggression needs to be directed at that cracker Sheen. This whole debate arose from HIS comments. If you’re not really sure what “inherently” means in this context, then why are you having such a mammoth argument about it?

      inherent: existing as an inseparable part; intrinsic

      So with a 9.2% long-term addiction rate (which needs to be shifted slightly upwards to include those who died) it is a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong stretch to claim addition is an inseparable part of crack use. Me? I just wish it was available here so I could know what all the fuss is about. Powdered coke doesn’t do much for me because I’m a pretty outspoken, opinionated asshole as it is – I don’t need any amplification. Plus I like to explore my mind, not my ego.

      In any case I’d say, based on your Russian roulette bit, that someone important to you was adversely affected by crack at some point. Considering Maggie started this post with “Crack is whack, that much is for certain.” I can hardly agree with your analysis of this as a pro-drug write up. It is merely a pro-truth write up which comes to a conclusion that you do not like based on your assumption of its potential to drive people towards something that has affected you or the people you love.

      Also you gotta watch the trolls. They will eat you alive if they see you are so passionate about something that emotion outweighs reason.

      Rebdav: You and probably every single emergency worker, I’d say. The health costs of alcohol have to be through-the-roof compared to illegal drugs.

  23. What about the number of people dead or too incoherent to answer survey questions about their crack use? Everyone I’ve ever met who tried crack is now dead. Ok, one guy is in prison. But he couldn’t form meaningful sentences by the time they got him.

  24. What can I say?

    Do your own research…don’t just accept the anecdotal evidence presented by HereticGestalt, JohnnyCoelecanth and Charlie Sheen…as a free-thinker, surely you can come to your own conclusions, about whether or not you can “handle” crack use…

  25. imag, I think the communication breakdown here is over the word “inherently.” To say that crack is not inherently addictive doesn’t mean that no one will get addicted to it; it means only that it does not make addicts of everyone who tries it.

    1. I think that most people would agree that Meth is “inherently” addictive. Crack is has higher dependency rates, according to that study. Incidentally, the dependency rates for crack are three times that of alcohol. I’d call that addictive.

      Saying it’s not “inherently addictive” says to me that it’s not addictive. I’m not even sure what “inherently” is supposed to mean in this context.

  26. To the commenters freaking out about the blithe disregard of common sense vis a vis social use of crack on this blog; please realize that this post did not originate in a vacuum.

    If you live outside the US, or don’t get your news from Entertainment Tonight, you may be unaware that Charlie Sheen gave an interview in which he advised people to stay away from crack unless they can manage it socially.

  27. I’m waiting for ibogaine to sweep the US. Imag, instead of throwing a hissy fit because Boing Boing is discussing the ‘social use of crack,’ why don’t you make it your goal in life to spread ibogaine use?

    1. Do you need to be so mean? FWIW, I usually refrain from posting on these kinds of articles because I know that it will draw comments like yours and some of the ones around it.

      And why would posting to a blog equate to wanting to spend my entire life on some related issue? This one hits close to home for me (obviously). That doesn’t mean it occupies my entire life, as you can see from my numerous other postings here and elsewhere.

      Every time these articles post, we have ignorant and mean-spirited comments to the effect of, “addiction is just in people’s heads,” coupled with classist BS from what appear to be very sheltered people who like taking pot shots at people. I think BoingBoing’s posters, who do not well understand addiction science, include comments which foster those prejudices. And I think we see that playing out here.

      And I strongly disagree that commenting on injustice of representation is not simply throwing a “hissy fit”.

  28. LMAO. Sounds like someone internalized that D.A.R.E. crap.

    I’m the poster child for the failure of that just-say-no-all-drugs-are-evil-and-will-kill-you outdated ’80s bullshait. Like someone pointed out above, you can’t conflate hyperbole and lies with education. It is pure scare tactics and nothing else. Even as a kid I wondered why so many people would use drugs if they ONLY had negative consequences.

    The only effect it had was to make me curious. Which inevitably leads to experimentation, which in turn puts the final nail in the coffin – I didn’t die, go crazy, or get addicted. I had FUN.

    1. If you’re referring to me, you’re wrong. I think marijuana should be legal. I think plants in general should be legal. I’m not even convinced that any drugs should be illegal, though I see both sides of the argument.

      I also know that crack is dangerous, illegal or not, for a large segment of the populace. And you’re statistic of one does not change that. Your comment sounds like the Ayn Rand-inspired sentiment: “I worked my way up by my bootstraps, so structural economic inequality does not exist”. That kind of sentiment is arrogant, uncompassionate, and unhelpful.

      1. I was referring to you, yes.

        Even pot can be dangerous to the wrong user – who doesn’t know an otherwise promising stoner sidetracked by apathy? Just because no one calls it “addiction” doesn’t mean it doesn’t ruin lives. No one is disputing that crack CAN be dangerous; any fool knows that no matter what BoingBoing publishes. But so what? So is driving, playing football, drinking beer, etc etc ad nauseum.

        1. Plenty of people are addicted to marijuana. I have known some who felt they couldn’t stop. That doesn’t mean I think it should be illegal.

          I also know that the depth of harm that comes from marijuana is far less likely to equate to that of other drugs for most people. That’s not parroting DARE.

          And you’re right. Other activities are dangerous. What I am highlighting is that 1:10 is not a small number. Equating it with playing football is absurd. Driving, the most dangerous activity you pointed out, has a 1:100 chance of killing you. Driving also happens to generally contribute to other parts of your life. Crack use doesn’t.

          If you and Alvis can find some accounts of happy, consistent recreational crack users, let me know. It sounds like you’re just being combative.

  29. Nthing the Russian roulette comparison. The next time you’re out for a drink with a bunch of friends, Maggie, look around the circle of smiling, happy faces and ask yourself which one you wouldn’t mind seeing delivering those behind-the-dumpster handjobs, including yourself.

  30. I’ve smoked crack. It was no big deal. I’ve had better times without drugs. Didn’t feel a need to do it again, or kill, steal, or rape anyone either. I’m glad I did it it gave me a little insight into why other people might really like it.

    IMHO, your life has to already pretty much totally suck environmentally or psychologically for this to be an attractive daily escape.

    I’d like to see the addiction rates correlated with things like crushing poverty, history of physical or emotional abuse, clinical psychological pathologies, and so on. I think you’d find most of your 10% there.


    1. I don’t know if you’re being serious, but I’m the same. Cocaine does nothing for me, never has. Huge letdown, BTW. DARE built it up like it would change my life and it turns out I get more of a buzz from a single winecooler. Boo.

  31. I’m not even sure what “inherently” is supposed to mean in this context.

    OK, try the phrase the actual article uses: “Far from being universally addictive….”

    That’s all anyone is saying here: That crack doesn’t make a hopeless addict of every single person who tries it. I suppose that stating this unadorned fact could conceivably be interpreted as some kind of implicit “permission” to try crack, if one is a total idiot. But that’s no reason for us, in the context of a (generally) scientifically-minded blog, to hysterically overstate the situation.

    For example, suppose two people are talking about some person they both know:

    Person 1: He’s horrible! He’s like Hitler!
    Person 2: No, he’s not THAT bad; he’s more like Ted Bundy.

    This is not an endorsement of the person’s character from Person 2.

  32. I take amphetamines regularly (yes, they are prescribed). Despite being extremely addictive I have not become addicted. I’m sure I could be if I weren’t cautious, you do build tolerance and they can be quite fun. Knowing the danger, I avoid it. When tolerance escalates it doesn’t mean it’s time to take more. If I ever find myself enjoying the amphetamines too much it means it is definitely time to take less. Simple rules. I’ve gone weeks of taking amphetamines daily, and I’ve gone weeks without taking any.
    I don’t imagine cocaine is very different. You take a huge dose and it’s fun. You want more. You either deal with it by taking more and risking addiction or by accepting that you will need to actively maintain control over your use.

  33. imag,

    You’re making yourself the topic of the thread. Let somebody else argue for a while.

  34. Not much to add here except when me an my friends were talking bout drugs a while a go the consensus was the command from doing E was “you must go out and dance now.!” While the consensus for Crack was “you must go and find more crack now!”

    To be honest I think Crack and Heroin should be illegal. Just because I think people are gonna use drugs anyway finding certain drugs shouldn’t be easy.

    1. Legal doesn’t mean easy to find. I have no doubt that I could find crack or heroin very easily right now. If heroin and cocaine distribution were no longer controlled by the black market it would be easier to regulate access and to influence addicts towards healthy behavior.

  35. Yes you can use crack socially but it carries constant risk. This article is a piece of fluff, like another reader said. Anything with a high that wears off after a period of time carries risk of habit. Crack is simply a very quick high with a very quick low. It’s not a mind control device that makes you want crack forever.

    If you have unlimited funds like Charlie Sheen you can have as much as you want, and be an addict and still be just fine. If you are in a poor neighborhood where crack is your only friend, you will dance around the streets like a lunatic until you get the ten dollars to get another rock. If you are in a middle class area and you tried crack once at some crazy party, you probably will never do it again.

  36. “a given individual has no way of knowing which category they’ll fall into—Ho-hum or Hooked—until they’ve actually tried it. And for the people who end up hooked, that’s already a bit a late.”

    A more enlightened culture will realize that this kind of thinking actually encourages addiction. Whether we are abstinent, moderate, or excessive users of a substance is governed by our beliefs about the power of the substance and the appropriate way to use it. When people call for abstinence, they do so at the expense of teaching how to moderately engage in pleasurable but potentially risky behavior.

    Using cocaine will sensitize you to its pleasurable effects, but your use is not going to spiral out of control if you’ve given a little bit of thought to the proper place of those effects in your life. When a drug is legal and integrated into the culture, that little bit of thought is easier because society shows you how to engage in moderate use. Good evidence for this is that ethnic groups that integrate moderate alcohol use into their culture and accept it as a normal part of life tend to have low rates of alcoholism.

  37. It seems the figures of the article are not credible. The sheer public distaste for crackheads, hides the crack-users from the public. I do not see alot of people raising their hand in public admitting to smoking rocks compared to drinking or smoking cigarettes. The true amount of users for this substance and any other illegal substance is only based on the people arrested or admitted to rehab.

  38. The Harsh Reality of Drug Addiction richardmclaughlin007 — January 18, 2009 — after 11 months of sobriety from drug addiction, in 7 short days this man hits the depths of despair and insanity.

    This video was shot in Vancouvers downtown eastside by the narrator it is quite extreme, It shows how common place and and readily available drugs are and how people can succomb to a extreme physical reaction from lack of sleep, nutrition and dehydration. This video was made for many different reasons, one being educational the other as mentioned earlier it’s common place here in Vancouver, in any other city or town in North America this man would have recieved immediate medical attention but here in Vancouver both the police and ambulance just drive by. If you do not belive me come on down and see our little human circus slash “HARM REDUCTION EXPERIMENT”
    This man was spotted two hours later sleeping on a concrete curb as his pillow.
    Both the narrator and producer of this video have had spent many years struggling with addiction and have spent hard time in Vancouvers “NOTORIOUS” downtown eastside.
    Today they have escaped and are clean and sober and now dedicate there lives to those who still suffer from “THE HARSH REALITY OF ADDICTION”

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