Crack cocaine differs from regular cocaine in that it comes in a hard small rock instead of a powder. The high from crack cocaine begins immediately after it is smoked or injected and wears off in 10-15 minutes. If your loved one appears high but then disappears every 15 minutes, only to return looking high again, crack cocaine may be the reason. In addition to the frequent disappearing acts, there are other signs and symptoms that can let you know your loved one may be using.
Physical Signs: Crack cocaine is typically smoked with a metal or glass pipe, which can get hot to the touch. Check for burn marks on their lips or at the tips of their fingers. The "pipes" are sometimes tube-shaped, like drinking straws, but basically any small metal or glass pipe works. The drug is sold in little Baggies or small tied off pieces of plastic. If your loved one is using, he or she may leave the Baggies around with tiny white or beige rock-like residue in them. Pieces of metal scouring pads are often used to smoke crack cocaine. If you find it cut up, or in rooms where it wouldn't normally be stored, a red flag should go up. If it is being injected, you may find syringes and burnt spoons as well as track marks on their arms, ankles or other body parts.
Body Changes: When a person is high on crack cocaine, his or her pupils become enlarged. In addition, there will be very little appetite and sometimes, excessive sweating. While on crack cocaine, one experiences bursts of energy and will be extremely talkative and physically unable to sit still. This is because brain chemicals that elevate the mood are artificially boosted by the drug. Health dangers from using crack cocaine include elevated blood pressure and rapid heart rates. In some cases, it causes strokes and heart attacks, which can be fatal. Even if the user has smoked it many times before without serious health issues, these things can occur at any time it is smoked in the future.
Mental State: Overconfidence is a common attitude when someone is on crack cocaine. If your loved one has been using for a long time, he or she may also suffer from hallucinations and paranoia and display psychotic behaviors. Long-term or heavy crack cocaine users often pick at their body, leaving injuries and scabs.