NB! Drugs effects vary according to the psychological state and the health of the person concerned, the context in which the drug is taken as well as the quality of the drug and the quantity consumed. 


Crack is the crystal form of cocaine, usually occurring in small lumps and are obtained through a procedure for purifying cocaine. Also called “free base”, or “purified cocaine”. Crack is most of the time smoked and can be injected also, but this occurs less often. 

Crack is a psychoactive substance which is: 

  • illegal
  • semi-synthetic
  • a stimulant.

Desired effects

  • Feeling of wellbeing, more mental than physical stimulation 
  • Short and intense “flash” sensation
  • Narcotic

Physical symptoms

  • Increase in heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature
  • Dry mouth
  • Dilation of pupils. 

Immediate risks

  • Strong psychological dependence: uncontrollable need to take the drug (“craving”)
  • Paranoia, serious hallucinations, insomnia, depression, anxiety, headache, chronic fatigue, nose bleeds
  • Stroke, heart attack, epileptic attack
  • Risk of transmission of infectious diseases (HIV, hepatitis) from exchanging of syringes and sharing of pipes if there are wounds in the mouth 
  • Risk of overdose: loss of consciousness, cardiac arrest, death

Long-term risks

  • Pulmonary complications: coughing, bronchitis, lung haemorrhage, chronic laryngitis
  • Severe injuries to the lips, tongue and gums due to very hot smoke
  • Paranoia, anger, aggressiveness, hallucinations or delirium 
  • Brain and cognitive-function damage
  • Strong psychological dependence: uncontrollable need to take the drug (“craving”); sharper/stronger then for cocaine


Sciensano collects data and analyses the consumption of drugs, the drug market, the consequences for health, requests for treatment and the policies implemented with regard to drugs in Belgium.

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