Crack Pipe – Used To Smoke Rock Cocaine – How They’re Built & Used
Most crack cocaine users use a pipe to smoke rocks of this drug. The smoke brings an intense, fleeting, euphoric high. A crack pipe’s anatomy is similar to other types of smoking pipes used for marijuana or methamphetamine. Pipes are glass, metal, or even Pyrex. Pyrex is a complex, heat-resistant type of glass.
It includes some of the following elements:
- Bowl: this is generally the bulbous area at the end of a pipe.
- Stem: the cylindrical piece comes from the bowl for collecting smoke for inhalation.
- Carburetor: This is a small hole on the side of the bowl used to regulate oxygen.
- Screen: Made of such things as cut pieces of aluminum brass or steel wool. They are cut into small pieces and fit at either the stem’s base or the bowl’s bottom. They help to prevent burning pieces of ash from getting inhaled.
The crack starts with powdered cocaine and cut with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and water. This mixture is then heated to generate an oily film of hydrochloride from the powder. Once separated and allowed to air dry, the oil is then rolled into a rock-like substance that dealers break into the smaller rocks known as crack.
Crack got its name from the crackling noise when hot.
The high from crack cocaine is particularly potent, bringing on extreme happiness and energy, mental alertness, and a heightened sense of awareness. In addition, smoking releases a rush of dopamine, a chemical in the brain associated with pleasure. However, it is extremely short-lived, lasting only a few minutes.
The crack epidemic, which started in Los Angeles in the ’80s, quickly spread to large urban areas in other cities because of its low cost and high profit.
- “The crack epidemic rolled through some lives like a wildfire and burned slowly through others over the years,” wrote L.A. Times contributor Sandy Banks in 2010.
As a result, crack pipes became a standard paraphernalia piece that users often carried and sometimes discarded onto the street.
To make matters worse, and why it is so addictive, the body immediately develops a tolerance. That means a user needs more of the drug to achieve the same high previously felt.
Crack pipes spread diseases like HIV and hepatitis C. Huffpo contributor Lydia O’Connor wrote, “…transmit HIV and Hepatitis C when they burn or cut their lips when they burn or cut their lips on broken and makeshift pipes.”
Isaac Jackson, president of the San Francisco chapter of Urban Survivors Union, started a free pipe exchange in 2014. Jackson believes that the spread of disease by crack pipes is a public health crisis, in much the same way some cities have allowed needle exchanges to slow or stop disease spread from intravenous drug use.
“When it comes to crack smokers, there is a deficit of services and a deficit of care,” Jackson told HuffPost.
According to at least one national study, the increase in cocaine-related overdoses results from the increasing epidemic of opioids, including heroin, that’s laced with the deadly drug fentanyl.
While the National Institutes of Health doesn’t track overdoses from the crack, the agency reports a rise in the number of fatal overdoses related to widespread cocaine use.
- In 2010, the NIH estimated less than 5,000 cocaine overdoses spiked to 7,000 in 2015.