By Edmund Murphy
Last updated: 28 November 2023 & medically reviewed by Dr. Kimberly Langdon
What is crack made of?
Crack is made by boiling a mixture of powder cocaine, water, and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) or ammonia. This process removes the hydrochloride from the pure form of cocaine, creating a solid substance that is then broken down into small rocks. As hydrochloride has been removed from the cocaine, the rocks are smokable.
This process produces what is known as cooked crack which is sold as crack cocaine by drug dealers. There are also many other chemicals and substances that dealers and manufacturers will cook into crack. These are known as cutting agents and can make the drug more harmful.
Related: How is cocaine made?
What else goes into crack?
When crack is cooked, it usually has additional chemicals or substances added to it. There are two primary reasons that drug dealers use cutting agents for crack:
To increase the quantity of the drug.
To enhance the effects of the drug.
Both of these involve additional chemicals that can be harmful to those who take the drug. Chemicals used to enhance the quantity being produced can range from relatively harmless baby powder to hazardous cleaning products and laundry detergents. Additional substances that are commonly added to crack include other stimulants like methamphetamine or Adderall, as we as potent opioids like Fentanyl.
Opioids like fentanyl are responsible for over 70% of overdose deaths and can be extremely dangerous even in small quantities. Smoking crack that has been cut with other stimulants can lead to an increased heart rate and risk of a heart attack.
Other substances that can be used as cutting agents in crack cocaine include:
levamisole (a drug used in veterinary medicine)
Numbing agents like benzocaine or lidocaine
Oxycodone and other opioids
As well as making crack more dangerous, these substances can also affect how crack smells and tastes.
Other chemicals used in the manufacturing of cocaine and crack
Getting help for crack addiction
Once crack addiction has formed, it is incredibly hard to get free of the drug, especially when crack is constantly in the system through prolonged use. Fortunately, there are many rehab facilities and addiction treatment centers across the country that are able to help.
Rehab centers, in either an inpatient or outpatient setting, can provide assistance with detox, therapy, and long-term treatment plans to ensure recovery is successful. Find a treatment provider today to help beat addiction.