Are Crack Cocaine Vapes Beneficial For Harm Reduction?
Although crack cocaine vapes are not currently available, they may soon help people who deal with crack addiction by providing a harm reduction measure.
Crack cocaine is a powerful and extremely addictive stimulant drug. It begins with cocaine in its powder form, but once it is cooked with baking soda and water, it becomes smokable.
Crack may be more addictive than cocaine due to the fact that it is usually smoked rather than snorted, which means that the drug hits the bloodstream quickly.
Crack cocaine addiction is treated in several ways, and new treatment options are being explored. Recently, researchers have begun exploring the possibility of crack cocaine vapes, also called “crack pens.”
While crack cocaine vapes are not currently available for use, they may someday be useful as a harm reduction tool or an aid to crack addiction treatment.
What Are Crack Cocaine Vapes?
Two European researchers, Fabian Steinmetz and Heino Stöver, wrote a paper on the possibility of crack cocaine vapes.
These vapes would work like traditional vapes, but they would contain crack cocaine instead of tobacco.
Steinmetz and Stöver presented this idea as an alternative to other methods of crack use.
What Is Harm Reduction?
“Harm reduction” refers to strategies that minimize the negative consequences of drug use.
Examples of harm reduction include:
- clean needle exchange programs to prevent the spread of HIV
- supervised injection sites, which provide medical attention and treatment information
- drug test strips that expose the presence of fentanyl in other drugs
- opioid-assisted therapy, which replaces heroin with decreasing doses of safer opioids
Some people argue against harm reduction, believing that reducing consequences only makes drug use easier and more appealing.
However, one of the key signs of addiction is when a person continues to use drugs in spite of the negative effects.
Because addiction is a mental health condition rather than a choice, harmful consequences are not always a deterrent to drug use.
Thus, minimizing these negative and potentially life-threatening consequences of crack use through harm reduction may be more beneficial.
Benefits Of Crack Cocaine Vapes For Harm Reduction
As a harm reduction measure, crack cocaine vapes may soon provide several benefits for people who deal with addiction. Below are some of these key benefits.
No Harmful Additives
One of the dangers of illicit drug use is that people have no way of knowing whether their drugs contain harmful additives.
Often, drug dealers add additional substances to their products to maximize their sales.
Not all of these substances are fit for human consumption, and some additives, like fentanyl, may increase the risk of overdose.
Crack cocaine vapes, which would be produced with care and supervision, would eliminate the risk of contamination.
Because street drugs have varying purity levels, people who use crack cannot accurately determine how much they have consumed.
As a result, they may underestimate the amount of crack in the system and experience a life-threatening overdose.
Crack cocaine vapes, however, would administer measured doses. People who use them could gauge their cocaine consumption more accurately, possibly avoiding overdose.
A Step Toward Treatment
For many people with drug addictions, getting treatment can seem like a daunting step. While addiction treatment is a positive change, it’s also a big change, and change can cause anxiety.
Smaller steps, such as replacing street cocaine with a vape, may ease that anxiety and make the transition into treatment easier.
Gradual Dosage Reduction
Crack cocaine withdrawal can be a barrier to recovery. Some people return to crack cocaine, not because they don’t want to quit but because withdrawal symptoms make quitting difficult.
Cocaine vapes may ease those symptoms and reduce cravings by letting people taper off of cocaine gradually.
If cocaine vapes can provide increasingly small doses, those who use the vapes can quit cocaine over time, allowing their bodies to get used to the change.
Drawbacks Of Crack Cocaine Vapes For Harm Reduction
The biggest drawback to cocaine vapes is that for now, they only exist as a concept. They are not currently available for people who need addiction treatment.
As a result, researchers will have a long way to go before they fully understand the risks and benefits.
Furthermore, if cocaine vapes do become available, strict regulations will need to be put in place to ensure that they are not used by people who do not have a cocaine addiction.
Otherwise, for some, the technology may cause an addiction rather than mitigate one.
Find Help For Crack Cocaine Addiction
Even with all of its benefits, harm reduction is not a replacement for addiction treatment. Fortunately, addiction treatment is available now to help people who deal with substance abuse.
Spring Hill Recovery Center offers compassionate, evidence-based care. If you or a loved one need treatment for crack cocaine addiction, contact Spring Hill today to learn more.
- Drug Science, Policy, And Law — The Cocaine E-Cigarette: A Theoretical Concept Of A Harm Reduction Device For Current Users Of Smokable Cocaine Forms https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/20503245211049310
- United States Department Of Health And Human Services — Harm Reduction: Overdose Prevention Strategy https://www.hhs.gov/overdose-prevention/harm-reduction