Although many go untold, there are innumerable personal stories of crack addiction. When these stories are publicly recalled, there are usually varying reactions from both those that have never experienced an addiction to crack cocaine and those who are battling this debilitating disease. While judgement is often the response of the former.
On the other hand, hearing of others that have successfully rehabilitated can be a life line of hope for people that are still trapped in the destructive cycles of crack addiction. Recovering from the obsessive and compulsive demands of a drug abuse lifestyle was so liberating for Fernando that he compared it to being delivered from death. “Before I was dead, not living, only barely surviving, but finally I feel alive.” Ferdinand also pointed out that as a recovering addict, he still has the option to use drugs or wallow in the mistakes of the past, however, he says he prefers to stay clean. “I’m thankful for Treatment…” he said in his personal addiction story.
Becoming addicted to crack has been described and observed by many, as a life-time rife with sickness, homelessness, danger, fear and violence. It is not unusual for a crack addict to lose their careers as well as significant relationships. Sadly, many even the right to raise their children due to their uncontrollable use of this drug and the life choices that they make as a result of it. To support their drug habit, many crack addicts engage in criminal activities or turn to prostitution. As this pervasive substance continues, it consumes the users’ time, energy and health. Before long, they lose focus of everything else in their lives as getting and using crack takes center stage. The intervention of family and friends is often the only way out for many people that have habituated the use of crack cocaine.
Studies show, approximately 25 million people in the United States have used cocaine or crack, at some time in their lives. Crack is a highly addictive, cheap, freebase form of cocaine. Most addictions to crack begin with the use of cocaine or another illicit drug. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Cocaine use accounted for approximately 13% of all admissions to drug abuse treatment programs.
Based on NIDA records, the majority of these individuals who seek treatment for cocaine also smoke crack and have a strong tendency to be poly drug users as well. As a result, of the debilitating effects and extensive use of cocaine and crack cocaine, NIDA scientists have stepped up efforts to identify and develop more effective treatment programs for people in addiction to this drug. NIDA describes crack addiction as a complex disease that involves biological changes in the brain. Its resulting effects create myriad health issues, social, familial, and other environmental problems for addicts.
A comprehensive and strategic approach to recovery is important to arrest the neurological impairments as well as the physical and psychological debilitation often caused by this drug. It is also not uncommon for patients that are addicted to crack cocaine to also present with a mental disorder. In these instances, according to NIDA scientists, these individuals will require additional behavioral or pharmacological treatment interventions. The path into crack addiction and the experiences associated with it present a number of variables for each individual. Treatment for crack addiction is therefore never a quick fix or a one size-fit-all process. The use of behavioral interventions and in severe cases, the application of medications that have been used successfully to treat other addictions may be combined to achieve the recovery process. Residential care has been shown to be the most effective approach for persons in need of rehabilitation from long term crack addiction. At the end of any effective treatment program, patients will be equipped with relapse prevention tools and prepared for successful reintegration into society.
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