Cocaine use is dangerous enough on its own. However, it becomes even more harmful when you engage in freebasing. What is freebasing, and what unique dangers does it pose? Here is some information you need to know.
Cocaine can be found in two different forms: base cocaine and cocaine hydrochloride. The hydrochloride form is the one most people are referring to when they talk about cocaine. It is a water-soluble solution that can easily be snorted or injected.
Base cocaine or freebase, on the other hand, is extracted from cocaine hydrochloride. It is extracted through a process that uses ammonia or other chemicals to turn the hydrochloride form into cocaine sulfate. The result is a purer, more potent product with a lower melting point that makes it easier to smoke.
What Does Freebasing Mean?
The term freebasing generally refers to the process of smoking cocaine sulfate. However, you may sometimes hear it used in reference to the act of creating base cocaine from cocaine hydrochloride. Freebasing cocaine is not the same thing as smoking crack, although both produce some of the same side effects and are equally as dangerous.
Freebase coke has a typically boiling point of around 176 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it perfect for smoking through glass or metal pipe. This is the only way in which this form can be used as it is no longer suitable for injecting or snorting.
Dangers of Freebasing
As mentioned, the base form of cocaine is much more potent than its powdered version. As such, the odds of an overdose become much greater when freebasing. In addition, users often experience a crash much sooner, and may, therefore, consume multiple doses within a concise time frame. This, too, leaves them more susceptible to experiencing an overdose.
The more potent a drug is, the higher the odds of addiction are. Accordingly, you are more likely to develop a cocaine dependency when you use freebase rather than powder cocaine.
Some users are more likely to engage in risky behavior when they are freebasing. This means that the odds of an injury are also higher. Individuals may even be more prone to violent acts against themselves or others.
The chemicals used to extract freebase cocaine can be very harmful to the lungs. Consequently, those who regularly engage in freebasing may experience long-term health problems as a result.
Hazards of Creating Freebase
Extracting freebase cocaine from cocaine hydrochloride is a dangerous process as well. It could result in burns or even lab explosions that might cause serious bodily injury or even death.
Those who freebase are more likely to experience burns while smoking. That's because some chemical residue may remain on the base cocaine after it is extracted. When present, this residue is highly flammable and may, therefore, intensify the flames from a match or cigarette lighter.
Signs of Freebasing
Smoking cocaine produces an almost instant high that typically lasts for only a very few minutes (usually less than three). During that time, you may notice that an individual has an incredible amount of physical and mental energy. That is followed by a crash that can result in a person feeling very sluggish or tired.
You may notice a few other signs:
- Pinpoint pupils
- Rapid heartbeat
- Muscle twitching
Long-term users are more susceptible to anxiety, depression, fatigue, and insomnia. If you have noticed extreme changes in someone's health or behavior, it could be because he or she has a substance abuse problem. Freebase cocaine use is severe, so you should take immediate action if you suspect that someone close to you is engaging in this activity.
Recognizing Freebase Cocaine Use
Is a loved one engaging in freebasing? One telltale sign is very brief, intense periods of euphoria that tend to occur regularly. There are also a few other things you should watch out for:
- Remaining isolated from non-drug users. Freebasers often prefer to hang around others who share their habit and might avoid old friendships because of it.
- Hoarding supplies such as ammonia, ether, or other chemicals that could be used to extract freebase.
- Keeping glass or metal tubes around, particularly if they also contain a residue.
- Having unexplained burns on the hands, face, or fingers.
- Making certain areas of their home off-limits. This could be because that person has set aside a particular room to use as a freebase lab.
- Being obsessed with finding cocaine. Those engaged in freebasing will often go to great lengths to obtain the drug, to include illegal activities such as stealing.
- Experiencing financial difficulties because you are spending too much money on cocaine or the equipment needed to extract freebase from it.
Getting Help for a Freebase Cocaine Addiction
Freebasing does increase one's risk of addiction. Fortunately, there are many ways to beat cocaine addiction. The first step involved medical detox, which allows the substance to leave the body safely. During detox, an addict receives personalized care to help better manage the withdrawal symptoms.
Following detox, you are then ready to undergo a more stringent treatment program. That program will address the underlying causes of addiction and teach you how to make better choices in the future. There is no particular time frame for recovery as each person responds to treatment in his or her way. So you should not feel discouraged if it appears as though someone else is progressing faster than you are.
Getting Help for a Freebase Cocaine Addiction
Are you or a loved one suffering from a freebase cocaine addiction? If so, you do not have to feel as though all hope is lost. Through a professional recovery program, you can beat your addiction once and for all. Allow us to help you get your life back on track again. Contact us right now to speak with a recovery specialist who will tell you how to take the next step.