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May 16, 2019

How Long Does it Take to Get Addicted to Crack?

Addiction is different for everyone. When trying to answer the question, “How long does it take to get addicted to crack?”, It’s important to note that there is no definitive answer. Each person is unique and will be affected by drugs differently. However, by understanding how the body processes drugs we can get a better idea of the crack cocaine addiction timeline.

Crack is a drug that is derived from the coca plant, similar to cocaine. The difference between crack and regular cocaine is that crack comes in crystal form while regular cocaine is a powder. Crack is known for being extremely addictive because of the fast-acting high it produces in the user.

Our experts at our Florida rehab center have put together this guide to explain the background of crack, how it affects the body, and how long it usually takes to become addicted.

What is Crack?

To understand the addictive potential of crack, it is necessary first to review how the drug interacts with the body. In its natural state, crack is derived from cocaine, which is a hydrochloride salt. To transform cocaine into crack, powdered cocaine is mixed with water and another substance (sometimes sodium bicarbonate). This mixture is then heated to a boil until solid crystals form. Once the solid has formed and cooled, it is then broken into smaller rock pieces which are then sold as crack cocaine. According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, crack earned its unique name from the audible crackling noise that’s produced when the rocks are heated and smoked.

Crack and The Human Body

Even though cocaine and crack cocaine are both made from the same drug, they interact with the body differently. Unlike cocaine which is snorted or injected, crack cocaine is typically smoked. Since the drug is easily ingested through the nasal passageways, it produces a sudden and strong high. Cocaine, when snorted, may take 1 to 5 minutes to feel the initial effects and 20 to 30 minutes to reach its highest concentration. However, when crack is smoked its effects can be felt within a minute and its peak is typically reached within 3 to 5 minutes.

Crack is considered to be the most addictive form of cocaine because of the intense high it produces. Unlike other drugs, crack enters the bloodstream within minutes and can have almost immediate effects on the user. That’s why some addicts prefer the crystal form of cocaine over the powder.

Crack Addiction: How Long Does it Take?

One of the most commonly asked questions about crack is how long it takes to form a drug addiction once an individual starts. Does the first hit of crack trigger an addiction or does it take continued use to develop a dependency? The answer to this is highly dependent on the individual, their unique characteristics, the amount of crack ingested, and the frequency of use. According to American Addiction Centers, it is possible for a person to become addicted to crack after one use, but it is not common. More often, individuals continue using crack to obtain the same high that they experienced with their first use and over time they become addicted. Once cravings and withdrawal symptoms are present, a drug addiction has likely formed. It is at this stage that the addict will need to enroll in a drug detox program to regain their sobriety.

The first hit of crack is widely known as a “bell ringer” because some users experience a ringing in their ears after the drug enters into their bloodstream. Some drug users attempt to recreate the feeling of their first use through continued drug use, but over time as they build up a tolerance, they have to continue to increase the dose. This increased dosage can pose a serious risk for an overdose.

Because crack is such a fast-acting drug, overdose can easily result. If an individual overdoses on crack, they may experience hyperventilation, an increased heart rate, convulsions, coma, and even death. That’s why it is imperative to seek help as soon as possible. Not only can crack cocaine lead to withdrawal symptoms or overdose, but it can also cause long-term effects or even cost a person their life.

If you or someone you know has developed crack cocaine dependence, please know help is always available. You can find a crack addiction recovery program offers a variety of treatment options including both inpatient and outpatient drug rehab programs depending on our situation and addiction.

Finding the Right Treatment Program For Your Crack Addiction

If you are trying to deal with an addict on your own, it is highly advised to talk to a reliable drug rehab center for further guidance.  If you are the one that is looking for a drug detox center, please get help as soon as possible. At Beach House Recovery, we offer a variety of treatment programs to cater to your personal needs.

The effects of crack cocaine can be ruthless. Our rehab detox center can help you overcome withdrawals and get you back to a sober life. Call us today to speak with one of our treatment specialists to begin on the road to recovery.


  • American Addiction Centers. “Crack Cocaine & Cocaine: What’s the Difference?” Retrieved from
  • “Can You Get Addicted to Crack After the First Use?” Retrieved from
  • “Can You Become Addicted from Smoking Crack for the First Time?” Retrieved from