Crack cocaine – and me
Haringey student tells how her Mum’s drug addiction affected her
It’s Tuesday, and as much as I fool myself, I know tomorrow will not be easy. The woman sitting across the room from me, watching ‘Judge Judy’ and laughing at the over-the-top cases seems content now, nearly happy. But she gets her benefits on Wednesdays – she’ll be a different person then.
This woman is my mother. She’s 38, but now due to years of crack cocaine addiction, she looks tired and fragile. If you did not know her, it would be hard to put an age on her.
She was once beautiful and headstrong
If you could see past the dated clothes you would find a beautiful headstrong woman. One who trusted herself, even though others doubted her. The young girl who fought through a troubled childhood to become a woman, and attempt to raise two children of her own.
This is the woman I struggle to remember when I see her pick up her pipe.
We need to go food shopping, before this week’s benefits go on crack
Wednesday’s here and I wake, knowing that she’s already been up for hours. Alone in the living room, crouched down by the coffee table with the pipe and that little white rock.
I spend ten minutes standing there, trying to hold back the tears while I beg her to stop. As I question why she refuses to and why she does it, my pleas fall upon deaf ears and my tears are unseen.
My company – and love – can’t save her
Neither my company nor my love is enough to save her. I know I can’t help her if she doesn’t want to help herself. She says she is not strong enough to stop.
I have to remind her that we need to go food shopping before she spends all this week’s money, so at least I can eat over the weekend.
She just stares back at me blankly, all wide-eyed from the ‘high’ and tells me to leave her alone.
It’s the same every week.
Why am I telling you my story?
The purpose of this article is not to name and shame anyone. Least of all my own mother. It is to create awareness of the impact drugs like crack cocaine can have on a user and those around them.
If you are suffering, or know someone who is in a similar situation, get help.
Don’t risk letting them or yourself fall deeper into this downward spiral because it is so hard to pick yourself back up – I’ve seen.
If I could have anything in the world, it would be to have back the mother I had before the drugs take over. I would do anything to help her give up this addiction.
Still, after all my silent wishes, I continue to see this weak-hearted woman, no longer lively and full of hope, just giving up on herself instead – she keeps losing her way. Those who were once closest to her will tell you that because of crack, who she is now is not even a shadow of the person she used to be.
What is crack?
Crack is the processed form of the stimulation drug cocaine. It looks similar to small pieces of soap but has a hard sharp texture and can be smoked.
Crack is almost six times stronger than standard cocaine, and when smoked reaches the brain more quickly and in more extreme doses compared to the white powder form of cocaine.
Because of this, the user feels an ‘intense rush’ followed by a ‘crash’. Once the effect has worn off, the user is left with a strong craving for another fix of the drug.
The user may then start to feel restless, anxious and/or irritable. In large amounts, crack can make a person extremely aggressive, paranoid and in many cases, delusional.
Those who continue to take it can become physically and psychologically dependent, until it is near impossible to control cravings.
Eventually, a user cannot stop taking the drug because their brains have become ‘rewired’. The person then genuinely feels they need it in order to function as normal.
Researchers have found cocaine-addicted monkeys will press a bar more than 12,000 times to get a single dose of the drug
How can you help someone who has an addiction?
In many cases, you will find that the user will deny that they have a problem and will often push friends and family away. You can get help by contacting a local drug abuse treatment centre.
- You should never change your actions to suit the addicts needs.
- Do not cover up for them if they aren’t meeting deadlines or responsibilities at home,. school or work
- Never lend money to help feed their addiction
How is crack addiction treated?
Nearly always, recovery begins with ‘detox’ – that is the body’s physical withdrawal from cocaine. Withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Muscle tremors
- Extreme hunger
- Severe headaches
After the body is clean of its addiction, the person should then be encouraged to enter a counselling programme. This is to help the ex-user understand the dangers of cocaine addiction to the full extent. It is also to explore, and then confront the issues that lead to drug use. And to find ways to avoid fall-back into the same trend.
As someone who is trying to persuade an addict to change their ways, you may end-up feeling exhausted and helpless. But it is important to remember that the person would be much worse off without support.