Thoughts and Observations
I believe that crack is a two part problem composed of physical addiction and a unique lifestyle. In my opinion, the physical addiction carries more weight than the lifestyle. A misconception is that this addiction is largely a choice by the addict. Don't believe it. Users are severely and almost hopelessly addicted to this drug. Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to stop smoking? In terms of crack, we are dealing with the most addictive drug in existence. Lifestyle is also a big part of the problem. This is not only a lifestyle without responsibility but a subculture unto it's own. There are no jobs, no bills to pay, no home upkeep, no showers and no time schedule. Users do whatever they want all day and night. It is also a hedonistic lifestyle. Get high all day long and have casual sex whenever wanted. Crack users LIKE this lifestyle. That's why they are there. The drug plays the role of masking out responsibility and conscience. Until the desire of this lifestyle is broken, the addiction will continue. What you are about to read is very straightforward. It has to be. Some of what you will read cannot be overemphasized.
Most crack addicts don't have jobs. An addict's daily use of crack costs between $200 and $400. Money is also needed for small amounts of food, drug paraphernalia and miscellaneous items. Crack addicts also need places to sleep and/or smoke crack. At the beginning of each day a crack addict has no money and on many days no place to stay. These are resourceful, manipulative people who are able to create substantial amounts of cash daily. Can you do that? It's difficult to relate how skillful these people are. When you meet an addict for the first time, they size you up immediately. If you are an easy mark, you will be manipulated and become a part of their life. If they see you are interested in romance, you are in big trouble. No, your love isn't going to change them. It's going to destroy YOU. A psychologist at a drug treatment center related the mechanics of a first meeting with a drug addict. He said, "It's like the Green Bay Packers playing your high school team. You don't have a chance". Don't ever think you can buck those odds. As a normal person it is difficult to understand a person who manipulates and scams all day long. This is a necessity for addicts to survive and you will not be an exception. You will be the rule, another person used up, destroyed and dumped out without conscience.
Dealing with a crack addict is totally disarming. It will interfere with your sleep, your work, your driving, appetite and general concentration. If you are just beginning the discovery of your addict you will read what follows and probably not take it to heart. That's because you haven't had your head beat in enough as yet. If you have been dealing with an addict you will find some tips and explanations that will make sense and be helpful.
Crack is very dangerous because it is an easy transition from marijuana. It's use characteristics are similar so it seems harmless. They are both smoked from a pipe and inhaled. When compared to the shooting of heroin or the snorting of cocaine, a marijuana user does not see it as foreign. In relating to the relatively harmless effects of marijuana, a user could innocently try and become addicted to crack. The drug also has it's negative physical effects. Users can have "crack seizures" using the drug and it is not uncommon for users to have heart attacks. A police officer once told me about a woman who got out of jail and immediately went to a crack house. She had been clean for 6 months while in jail. Because she had not used in so long, she overdosed on the spot and died. Crack also produces an effect called "crack lung". Crack damages the immune system of the lungs making the lungs more susceptible to disease. Shortness of breath, cough, wheezing, and chest pains can be symptoms of lung problems from crack use. General physiological effects of crack use are depression, confusion, hallucinations, anxiety, paranoia, poor concentration, cardiac seizures, respiratory seizures, lung damage, high incidence of dependency, blood vessel constriction, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, brain seizures that result in suffocation, rise in blood sugar levels, rise in body temperature, and sleeplessness.
Crack is cheap and much easier to obtain than any other drug. In Phoenix, you are literally never more than 5 minutes from a crack house. There may be more crack houses than convenience stores. If you are new to town there are people selling on the streets. You can pick up a street whore who will introduce you to crack houses. There are also delivery services. Some crack dealers have regular business hours during which they will deliver crack to you within minutes after a call to their mobile phone. If you have someone in your home who is trying to quit, don't leave them alone. While you are at the grocery store for 15 minutes, they will be able to buy and smoke the drug. There is very little odor so you will be unaware. Never take an addict to buy drugs. Undercover detectives stake out drug houses 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They videotape buyers and their vehicles and wait until the buyers have driven a distance from the drug house before arresting them. Police departments get their unmarked, undercover vehicles by seizing them in drug busts. Don't place yourself and your vehicle at risk.
Crack use is at epidemic levels. It is difficult for a normal person to understand the vast numbers of people using this drug. Some users maintain jobs, at least for a while. I call them functioning addicts. Here is an important point. If your addict has a job, get his boss or company involved. This is particularly effective with men. Men find a great deal of identity with their jobs and the fear of losing a job can motivate them to change. Don't be afraid to do this. Most companies are used to getting alcoholics treated. Companies are often sympathetic with such problems as almost every family has some kind of addiction problem. I have seen success with this approach several times. Eventually the addiction overtakes them and they lose everything including their jobs and families. Crack users continually steal and cheat each other. They are constantly bickering and moving from one place to another. Many addicts don't stay in one place for more than a week. Usually arguments over drugs will cause the move.
In my opinion women are most vulnerable to crack. It seems as though there is something in a woman's personality that causes them to be more easily addicted. The female population of prisons and jails has increased dramatically due to the large numbers of women incarcerated for crack. An important thing to remember is that it is an easy life for a woman after her morals are stripped away. Crack gouges out all personal standards and morals. Women prostitute for cash or drugs and find the lifestyle exciting. Crack will turn the most moral woman into a thief and whore without any conscience. If you observe outpatient counseling programs that are gender non-specific, you will find few women in the programs. There is simply no motivation for them to change. It's just too easy for women. According to a recent report by Ted Koppel, nearly 80% of females incarcerated for drugs will return to jail after being released. Remember, those are just the ones who get caught.
Having a crack addict in your life isn't difficult. It's impossible. That's the first thing you have to realize and accept. There is one exception and that is if your addict is actively and willingly attending therapy or IS NOT USING CRACK. If you believe another scenario then you may be smoking it too. EVERY crack addict is quitting. I have never met one who didn't tell me so. They all know when and how they are going to quit. A common statistic is that 20% of all addicted people will be successful in recovering. This number includes alcohol and all drugs. Considering crack is MUCH harder to kick, you can see the percentage of success in kicking crack is closer to zero. I say it is almost impossible. But it is not totally impossible. When addicted individuals stop using cocaine, they often suffer from depression, anxiety and the inability to experience pleasure from normally pleasurable activities. This makes it extremely difficult for the recovering addict to stay clean because they continuously expect the same bang they get from crack use. People incarcerated for lengthy periods of time will walk out of jail and go directly to a crack house to buy. A crack addict who wants to quit is actually attending therapy or is in a halfway house. Or, a crack addict who wants to quit has removed himself from the lifestyle and is drug free. A crack addict who is promising to quit is manipulating you. If you are in doubt, take the addict for a urine test. They are inexpensive. Make sure the testing facility actually watches the addict urinate into the cup. It is very common for addicts to substitute someone else's clean urine for their own. Frequently this is a child's.
Never let a crack addict blame you for their addiction. This is a common and tireless manipulation. They will constantly tell you that something you said or did made them smoke crack, initially start smoking crack or go get more crack. Unless you are actually putting the crack pipe in their mouth and lighting it, you are in no way at fault. Many times they will blame the person closest to them as the total cause for their addiction. As the addiction progresses through time, the addict's ability to reason becomes totally depleted. They will give explanations to you that will leave you nearly astounded. Their thinking becomes totally irrational and that is why you can never believe or rely on anything they say. Another common and very frequently used ploy is the "argument". If an addict is in your home trying to stay clean or recovering from a binge, they will skillfully create an argument with you and leave. It is just a ploy to get back to the street life. Later, they will blame you as the cause of the argument. Again, you will be the causative factor for their continuing drug use. You will discover addicts never take personal responsibility for their drug use. It's always someone or some situation that causes them to use the drug.
Crack addicts are in involved in three, and only three, activities all day and all night long. They get money for crack, they buy crack and they smoke crack. If an addict is talking to you or seeing you in person then you are going to be involved in one of those three activities. No, crack addicts do not call home and say I love you. Crack addicts call home because you are an easy mark. If you are not planning to be involved in one of those three daily activities, get away from the addict.
Crack makes men horny and women daring and horny. Anybody will do most anything in pairs or in groups. Just about anything you ask a woman to do, she will comply. This is 100% true if you are the person with the crack or with money. When a woman needs a hit, her body is yours. Unfortunately for men, crack often prevents them from getting an erection even though they are highly sexually aroused. Women will also experiment with each other and it is not uncommon for women to have same gender lovers. It is not uncommon for a man to pay two women to have sex with him at the same time or with each other while he watches. It is not uncommon for sexually straight male addicts to engage in homosexual acts with gay men to get money for crack. There is usually a street area in every large city where numerous men can be seen walking the street to procure gay customers.
Crack addicts don't like to be in public places or crowds. The power of the drug is demonstrated by the fact that women crack addicts do not like to shop. A crack addict does his Christmas shopping either in a convenience store in less than three minutes with less than a dollars worth of change or in dumpsters in alleys. Addicts frequently sift through dumpsters for clothes and anything else they find useful. Crack addicts shop for clothes in thrift stores. They will buy a cheap blouse or sweater and wear three more expensive ones out underneath. Crack addicts rarely go to restaurants. They frequent drive through at fast food restaurants. Crack addicts can live comfortably in total filth. Even though crack whores have sex numerous times per day they fail to use protection. Crack makes a weak person feel powerful and invincible.
A crack addict will drain your life emotionally and financially. Just watching them is tiring as they are on a speed trip accompanied by loads of paranoia. They are constantly checking doors, windows and switching lights on and off. They can not enjoy a movie or an FM station for more than a few minutes without changing to something else. They are constantly moving about. They develop motor function problems and often bend one knee slightly and tilt their upper torso to the same side as the bent knee. They also can move their arms and legs in twitchy, jerky motions and have sores on their faces and legs from rubbing them. Users often experience "crack seizures" where their heads will twitch. They are not aware of these. Seriously addicted users lose a lot of weight because crack diminishes their appetites. They will tirelessly challenge your ability to say "NO". When you think they are out of your life they will call again. They NEVER give up. They shamelessly keep calling anyone they know with money or a place to stay. The word "NO" does not phase them. If crack was legal and I owned a telemarketing company, I would hire crack addicts as telemarketers.
They will continuously make up the best excuses to extract money from you. Excuses can range from needing money for antibiotics to needing money for rent. When you offer to go to the drugstore to pay for the antibiotics they will give a phony reason why you can't. If you don't give them money they will steal from you, any relative, friend or even child. If you give them money they will still steal from you. They will use stolen credit cards, forge checks, shoplift or break into homes. They take stolen merchandise back to stores and attempt to get cash refunds. NOTHING is safe in your home. If it's an heirloom wedding ring........it's gone. They will prey on grandmothers receiving social security benefits and will rob them of the pennies that were saved through the years. They will rob parents of all the retirement resources saved in a lifetime of work. I know a couple who was once financially sound and now is nearly broke and can't afford burial plots for themselves. They become great manipulators and will heartlessly suck any unprepared person of all their emotional and financial resources.
Crack addicts go through a cycle. They binge 24 hours a day for five to seven days and then crash. The crash consists of almost uninterrupted sleep resembling a coma. During this time they get up and consume large amounts of food to replenish their energy. While they are eating they are still in a near comatose state. When they crash they are extremely tired and depressed. At crash time an addict will call or come to your door and tell you most convincingly they are done with drugs. They will say they are tired of the whole thing and will never go back to it. You will believe this story and allow them to crash and replenish themselves. At the end of the sleep cycle they will get up, start an argument and walk right back out your door to do it again. If a crack addict is really ready to quit he will submit to a detox center followed up by therapy. If you allow an addict to crash at your house all you will be doing is providing a restaurant and flophouse in to further their addiction.
Remember those sci-fi horror movies where outer space beings come to earth, get inside of humans bodies and possess them? That is what you are dealing with. On crack, your loved one or friend has become a possessed being. Forget about talking to the person you used to know. They are no longer there. You must realize that. You are now dealing with a force that is more powerful than you and them. This is where successful families have difficulty. Successful people are used to being able to resolve most problems. At the outset they think they can solve this one as well. At first a family will try to work it out between themselves. When considering experienced counselors have such low success rates, you must realize this is an impossible avenue as families simply do not have the experience or counseling tools to deal with this problem. They will spend thousands of dollars on expensive treatment clinics and other help avenues without any success. They cling to the thought that there is always hope. And yes, there is one and only one hope. There is hope that the addict will hit bottom so hard that he will seek treatment or quit on his own. The only way that will happen is when families and friends remove the addict from their lives. Involvement with an addict only extends the time for them to hit bottom. Letting go is the most difficult part in dealing with a loved one. Removing a loved one from your life is painful but it is the only hope to having them in your life again. You simply have to do this. You may need to seek professional counseling for yourself and family to heal the wounds and pain and help you through the removal process. There is a good pocketbook titled "How to Survive the Loss of a Love" that is available in any bookstore for $6.95.
After you have been broken emotionally and drained financially an addict will talk about his real friends, and that's not you. A woman addict will tell you about a real friend who doesn't like her to whore so he gives her money while, in his mind, he is receiving gratuitous sex. That friend is only momentary because the cash drain will quickly blow him out. Female addicts have lots of these kinds of friends. Real friends are other users or people who will support and aid in their habit without any questions. These real friends are in and out of their lives frequently because there is usually a money argument, theft or a dope disagreement. Don't be insulted when an addict mentions their real friends. Be plenty irritated and don't open your pocketbook again. When the addict asks for money, tell them to call their real friends.
Don't become fascinated or curious about an addicts bizarre behavior. This was a trap for me and it can keep you emotionally involved. I became wrapped up in curiosity about a friend's daily life but she finally cured me through sheer disgust. She called me from her girlfriend Cathy's apartment and wanted me to bring her clothes which I had stored for her. When I got to the apartment she and Cathy were smoking crack on the couch, laughing and having a simply wonderful time. My friend was bragging to Cathy about how she had procured a whore for a friend and went back to his house. The whore didn't perform to her standards and she described how good it felt punching her in the face. She also bragged about holding a gun to her head and threatening her. They were also calling crack dealers for more crack and bragging about stealing a car the night before. Shortly after I arrived there was a knock at the door and a middle-aged gentlemen was invited in and taken into a bedroom by Cathy. I started bringing boxes of clothing into the apartment and on the second trip Cathy came out and asked my friend to come into the bedroom. My friend said, "Excuse me, she needs me for my specialty". I asked what her specialty was and she replied, "Getting fucked in the ass". On the last trip of bringing in boxes another gentleman had arrived for services and while I was leaving, their crack dealer arrived. The girls were laughing and having a great time. Guess what, I don't think I need another look.
Crack whores have an interesting perspective on their customers. They call them tricks and say it with disgust like they are "getting over" on their customers. They think their customers are suckers and fools. Many men like to have anal sex with crack whores because they know they will do anything. So for $15-$60 a man can get a crack whore to do anything. Each time a woman participates a little more of her soul is eaten away until none remains. Now consider, who is the sucker here?
Crack addicts are fearful of the police and incarceration. When they are incarcerated, there is no more crack. I figured out a way to prevent my addict from coming to my door and it worked. I called my addict's best friend and told her two detectives were at my home looking for my addict. I told her they searched the house and even had a third detective at my back door in case she tried to escape. I also told her friend not to tell her. Guess what, she quit coming to my house. Don't forget, addicts are highly paranoid.
Here are some tips that are purely my opinion but I think are valid. Never front money to an addict for drugs. Never give an addict cash. If you buy them clothes they will return them for the cash. If you buy their children clothes they will return them for cash. Never take an addict to buy drugs as you risk being arrested for possession if the drugs are in your vehicle. Don't be curious about what they are doing. Assume they are doing the worst imaginable because they are. Remember every act of kindness only extends the time to where they hit bottom. Acts of kindness only hurt them. Helping a physically sick crack addict is a mistake. Let them suffer and hit bottom. Change the locks on your home and don't give them a key. Do not leave them alone in your home and remove all cash. Do not allow them in your home with their friends as their friends will return and burglarize you. The only friends they have are other addicts. Never believe anything they say, only respond through their actions. Telling you they are going to drug treatment is meaningless. Receiving a call from them at a treatment program is hope. Remember you are a non-person to them. You are only a vehicle and easy mark to further their addiction. Avoid expensive treatment programs. There are halfway houses that will accept addicts without money. They put them to work immediately and make them self-sufficient. If they are on probation, stay in touch with their probation officer. Most of them really care. If they need to be arrested call the police. Jail is safer for them than the street. Never let them crash at your house. Learn to be strong with them and don't ever waiver even slightly on the word "NO". Learn to let them go from your life. It is the most difficult thing to do but it will protect you and help them.
Be strong and good luck.
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