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Responding to Crack

NCJ Number
International Journal on Drug Policy Volume: 1 Issue: 2 Dated: (September/October 1989) Pages: 13-15
R Power; B Wells
Date Published
3 pages
Lessons from crack use in Bogota, Colombia, and the United States suggest how Great Britain should respond to the possibility of a crack epidemic.
To date, there is scant information about the prevalence of crack use in Britain, but there is sufficient evidence to suggest that its use in Great Britain is increasing. In Bogota, Colombia, 200,000 of the 6 million population are regular cocaine smokers. The main cause for concern in Colombia is the smoking of basuco, a cocaine derivative similar to crack. Like crack, it produces an immediate high, followed after some 15 minutes with a low that leaves the user anxious, depressed, and frantic to obtain more of the drug. To maintain the cost of use, many turn to prostitution and street crime. Research on crack use in the United States shows a pattern of compulsive use that presses users into revenue-raising crime. The after effects of the drug often contribute to impulsive and aggressive crimes against the person. Great Britain should be careful not to overreact to the possibility of a crack epidemic absent solid prevalence data on use. Regarding treatment modalities for crack use, Bogota has shown the value of intensive counseling, with the involvement of family members and significant others. Self-help groups are also valuable. 8 references.


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