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What's all that about then?

About life, if you get caught peddling, especially within spitting distance of a school. Up to seven just for possession.


Maybe not. It's classified Class A by the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971. Which means it's illegal.

I actually meant "what is it?"

Well it's a derivative of charlie …

… Croker? George? Watts? And the Chocolate Factory?

Crikey, where have you been? Coke … the real thing.

But it don't come in red tins, right?

No it don't. It comes in little polythene bags, or paper sachets. Allegedly. But the white lines, snow, the stuff Robbie Fowler infamously pretended to snort, isn't crack ... it's cocaine, or rather cocaine hydrochloride, a salt prepared from the leaf of the Erythroxylon coca bush, autochthonous to the Andes. You know Peru, Bolivia, blah, blah, blah. You know what, geography ain't exactly my bag. Anyway, chewing the leaves is an ancient custom of the Incas to protect against fatigue and altitude sickness. Things have moved on. Crack is the next stage.

So how do you make it?

It'd be irresponsible to prescribe a recipe right here. This a family web-site. But basically it's a purification process. Crack is a smokable form of cocaine, achieved by heating the cocaine hydrochloride with sodium bicarbonate (household baking soda), which frees the cocaine base from its salt. When the resulting brown nuggets are crushed up and toked, the residue of the baking soda crackles as it burns. Hence the name.

And the benefit?

If you can call it a benefit, inhalation into the lungs provides a much speedier way for the drug to enter the bloodstream than injecting (oddly enough) or snorting the untreated product. Within ten minutes, crack intoxication will provoke feelings of euphoria, omnipotence and a boundless sense of energy. It's a powerful central nervous system stimulant. According to William Burroughs, "A brain loaded with cocaine is like an crazy pinball machine, whose blue and red lamps flash on and off in an electric orgasm." Get the idea? But then, after the rush, you crash. Hard. And then suffer intense cravings for another high.

You don't think it's big and clever then?

Ooh no. Apart from the risk of a lengthy spell doing porridge, you run the risk of succumbing to a powerful psychological addiction. You'll mess your body up too. The physical toll prolonged users suffer includes serious weight loss and reduced resistance against infections, sleeping disorders, exhaustion and heart tremors. That's if you don't bankrupt yourself first.

The bottom line then?

Just say no.

"Crack is whack"

- Whitney Houston

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