Facts You Should Know about Crack - IDHS 4706

Illinois Department of Human Services

"Crack" is the street name given to cocaine that has been processed from cocaine hydrochloride to a free base for smoking. It is in the form of small, hard, white chunks and is a stimulant to the central nervous system. Crack is deadlier than other forms of cocaine and is extremely addictive. Anyone using crack may become an addict in two to three weeks, and in some cases, people who try crack become instantly addicted the first time they use the drug.

Methods of Intake:



Crack reaches the brain in less than 8 seconds and produces a "high" which peaks in 10-15 seconds and lasts only 15 minutes. This "high" is produced because crack tricks the brain into releasing chemicals that produce a false feeling of intense pleasure.


The "high" is immediately followed by an intense "low". The "low" begins with feelings of sadness and depression, followed by irritability, sleeplessness, and paranoia. Finally, the user experiences a schizophrenic-like psychosis with delusions and hallucinations. The use of crack is also accompanied by a number of physical side effects.

Side Effects:

  • Chronic sore throat
  • Bronchitis
  • Respiratory problems
  • Weight loss
  • Brain seizures
  • Sweating
  • High blood pressure
  • Hoarseness
  • Lung cancer
  • Slowed digestion
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dilated pupils
  • Heart attack
  • Shortness of breath
  • Emphysema
  • Burning of the lips/tongue/throat
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased blood sugar levels
  • Withdrawal Effects:

Withdrawal Effects:

  •  Nausea
  • Paranoia
  • Physical problems
  • Intense craving of the drug

Facility Locator

If you would like to know what substance abuse treatment providers are in your community, contact one of the following helplines:

  • 1-800-662-HELP
  • 1-800-662-9832 (Español)
  • 1-800-228-0427 (TTY)

If you have any questions about alcohol or other drugs, call:

Illinois Department of Human Services
Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse
1-866-213-0548 (toll-free Voice)
1-866-843-7344 (toll-free TTY)

If you have questions about any Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS)program, call or visit your FCRC. We will answer your questions. If you do not know where your FCRC is or if you are unable to go there, you may call the automated helpline 24 hours a day at:


1-866-324-5553 (TTY)

You may speak to a representative between:
8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Monday - Friday (except state holidays)

For answers to your questions, you may also write:

Illinois Department of Human Services
Bureau of Customer and Provider Assistance
100 South Grand Avenue East
Springfield, Illinois 62762

Visit our web site at: www.dhs.state.il.us

Programs, activities and employment opportunities in the Illinois Department of Human Services are open and accessible to any individual or group without regard to age, sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion. The department is an equal opportunity employer and practices affirmative action and reasonable accommodation programs.

DHS 4706 (R-03-14) Drug Series - Crack

Printed by the Authority of the State of Illinois.

200 copies P.O.#14-1090