Crack Addiction

Crack is considered the most addictive form of cocaine. The side effects and symptoms of addiction, including overdose, psychosis, and violent behaviour, also make it one of the most dangerous.

If an addiction to crack is affecting your life, we understand and we can help. Addiction to powerful drugs like crack makes it harder and harder to lead a healthy, normal life. When getting and taking a drug becomes the central focus of your day, it puts a strain on your family, friends, work, health, and finances.

In this article, we’ll explain the difference between crack and cocaine, the side effects and symptoms of problem use, treatment options for a crack addiction, and the help available for healing and long-term recovery.

As an accredited national leader in treating drug, alcohol, and food addiction for 50 years, Renascent offers intensive and personalized inpatient and outpatient programs that work.

We’ve helped almost 50,000 people recover from addiction. We can help you too.

What is Crack?

Crack is a powerful stimulant drug. Also known as rock and freebase, crack is the smokable form of cocaine.

Crack is highly addictive. Like cocaine, it changes a person’s brain chemistry to produce feelings of euphoria (feeling ‘high’), being more alert, or energetic.

The difference between crack and cocaine poster.

Crack Cocaine Addiction and Use in Canada

According to Health Canada, the chemicals inside crack reach the brain very quickly. This means that when used often and in higher doses, crack can be more addictive than regular cocaine.

In 2019, the Canadian Centre of Substance Use and Addiction reported that:

  • The percentage of cocaine use, including crack, in the Canadian population is considered low (about 2%).
  • The rate of cocaine and crack use by older youth (ages 20-24) is increasing.
  • Cocaine, including crack, is responsible for the highest costs to the Canadian criminal justice system of any drug in Canada.

Crack Addiction Symptoms and Side Effects

The signs and symptoms of a crack addiction are the same as problem use or addiction to cocaine. Intense cravings, depression, anxiety, fatigue, irritability, anger, mood swings, and sleeplessness are all warning signs of crack withdrawal and addiction.

There are also serious side effects from smoking crack and cocaine use; overdose, high-blood pressure, stroke, lung damage, and kidney failure are some of the serious physical effects this drug can have on your body. According to Health Canada, using crack for a long time can also lead to other serious mental and physical health problems including psychosis, seizures, and risk of hepatitis and HIV.

It can be hard to quit crack once you have started. With regular use, tolerance to the euphoric effects of crack increases. You need to take more and more to feel the same effects while becoming more sensitive to the negative side effects of this powerful drug.

The good news is that real healing and recovery from crack addiction is possible. If you think that you or someone you love might have an addiction to crack, we understand and we can help.

Crack Addiction and Recovery Stories

I arrived at rehab because of a problem with drugs. After decades of using various forms of “recreational” chemicals, which I had always been able to stop when things got too bad, I had finally met my match with crack cocaine.

I agreed to treatment mainly because I needed a rest. I’d been using heavily for well over a year, eventually holed up in my house trying to run my business by telephone and avoiding direct contact with colleagues, friends, and family.

Long runs of sleepless days and nights had left me exhausted. I felt hopeless.

Excerpt from Renascent Alumni post, July 2014

Renascent and our alumni are committed to creating a community for recovery: a safe social, educational, and spiritual network, which facilitates a lifetime of clean and sober living.

Members of Renascent’s alumni community carry this message by sharing their experiences and perspectives on addiction and recovery.

Read more stories of hope and healing shared by our alumni community on our blog.

How to Overcome Crack Addiction

Like any addiction, crack can make you lose control over your use of the drug and life itself. Smoking crack, with its very rapid, intense, and short-lived effects, is highly addictive. Getting and taking it can become the only thing that matters.

With the right treatment program, however, thousands recover.

For example, Renascent offers comprehensive, person-centred Toronto and Durham region addiction treatment programs that take place in safe, caring environments. Our abstinence-based model integrates 12-step facilitation with other best practices in clinical and medical approaches, which are proven to make a difference in long-term recovery.

Our intensive in-patient cocaine abuse treatment program (28–42 day stays) provides around-the-clock counselling and support from our team of registered psychotherapists and certified drug and alcohol addiction specialists, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and long-term recovery.

How to Choose Your Addiction Treatment Program

It can be hard to decide what type of treatment program you need. There are a lot of options out there, and each person has different needs and resources for addiction treatment.

Our treatment option chart outlines some of the choices you have at Renascent, or through other healthcare providers. Don’t see what you need? Contact us anytime for a confidential assessment where we can match you with the support you’re looking for.

If You Are:We Might Suggest:
Looking for one-on-one supportA one-on-one counselling session with one of our addiction experts
Seeking a community who understandsInpatient treatment with group counselling, or AA/NA/CA/OA meetings
Struggling with relapse42-days of Inpatient Treatment, followed by active participation in our Continuing Care program.
In recovery, but looking to connect with informal supportGetting involved with Renascent’s Alumni Care community. There are regular meetings, engaged committees, and events for everyone. We’re here for life!
Concerned how addiction in your family might be impacting your childrenSafe programs geared for kids and parents/caregivers, such as Children’s Healthy Coping Skills
Worried about your family member or loved one, including siblings, close friends, and partnersOur Essential Family Care Programs, particularly the Introduction to Family Care
A parent in active recoveryA weekend course like Parenting in Recovery, to help you boost your parenting skills
Concerned addiction is affecting your work or workplaceOur Corporate Complete Care Advantage, designed to support employees and employers as they navigate addiction and recovery in the workplace.
Worried about life after treatmentOur Continuing Care Program, to support you as you re-integrate into your daily home life.
Looking for housing after treatmentOne of our many Community Partners who offer post-treatment housing. Call us at 1-866-232-1212 and we can put you in touch.
Looking to get “clean” or detox.The ConnexOntario Helpline, 1-866-531-2600, can connect you with Withdrawal Management Services. If you are interested in treatment following detox, call 1-866-232-1212 and we’ll coordinate this.

How to Help Someone with a Crack Addiction

Addiction is a family disease. A person’s addiction to crack affects all the relationships in their life: spouses and partners, kids, friends, colleagues, and more.

Family members often know there’s a problem long before the addicted person does. But it can be a long and frustrating road to get someone with an addiction to admit they have a problem. Loved ones often feel confused, anxious, desperate, and alone.

That’s why Renascent offers extensive family programs to help adults and children cope with the effects of addiction. Our goal is to support and help families break the cycle of addiction, one person at a time.

How to talk to someone about their drug use pamphlet.

Your Road to Recovery Starts Here

Your addiction recovery journey begins with “I need help.” In 2020, Renascent celebrates 50 years as a trusted, national leader in drug, alcohol and food addiction rehab programs and services in Toronto and Durham region, Ontario. We can help you too.

The staff at Renascent is passionate about helping people with substance addictions so they can reach their full recovery with compassion, respect, empathy and understanding. Our staff includes our counsellors, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and recovery.

About the Authors

Renascent Staff
The staff at Renascent is passionate about helping people with substance addictions so they can reach their full recovery – with compassion, respect, empathy and understanding. Our staff includes our counsellors, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and recovery.