How is Crack Made?

Like most illicit drugs, crack cocaine is manufactured in labs and other facilities sometimes referred to as “kitchens”. Crack is made by mixing pure cocaine with a variety of chemicals in a process known as “cooking”.

What is crack made of?

Crack is made by boiling a mixture of powder cocaine, water, and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) or ammonia. This process removes the hydrochloride from the pure form of cocaine, creating a solid substance that is then broken down into small rocks. As hydrochloride has been removed from the cocaine, the rocks are smokable.

This process produces what is known as cooked crack which is sold as crack cocaine by drug dealers. There are also many other chemicals and substances that dealers and manufacturers will cook into crack. These are known as cutting agents and can make the drug more harmful.

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What are crack cocaine cutting agents?

When crack is cooked, it usually has additional chemicals or substances added to it. There are two primary reasons that drug dealers use cutting agents for crack:

  1. To increase the quantity of the drug.

  2. To enhance the effects of the drug.

Both of these involve additional chemicals that can be harmful to those who take the drug. Chemicals used to enhance the quantity being produced can range from relatively harmless baby powder to hazardous cleaning products and laundry detergents. Additional substances that are commonly added to crack include other stimulants like methamphetamine or Adderall, as we as potent opioids like Fentanyl. 

Opioids like fentanyl are responsible for over 70% of overdose deaths and can be extremely dangerous even in small quantities. Smoking crack that has been cut with other stimulants can lead to an increased heart rate and risk of a heart attack.

Other substances that can be used as cutting agents in crack cocaine include:

  • talcum powder

  • caffeine

  • levamisole (a drug used in veterinary medicine)

  • Numbing agents like benzocaine or lidocaine

  • Oxycodone and other opioids

As well as making crack more dangerous, these substances can also affect how the drug smells and tastes. Read here for information on how crack looks, smells, and tastes.

Other chemicals used in the manufacturing of cocaine and crack

There are also many other chemical components in crack, many of which arrive in the substance during the initial stages of creating powdered cocaine. 

Powdered cocaine is often mixed with a variety of chemicals such as ethyl acetate, acetone, and butyl during production. These chemicals, which often smell like solvents or nail polish, end up in crack when it is cooked. 

Some chemicals used in cocaine manufacturing that end up in crack include:

  • kerosine

  • Lime

  • sulfuric acid

  • calcium chloride

  • cement

  • acetic acid

  • motor oil

  • Gasoline

The purity of cocaine and crack cocaine and the absence of harsh chemicals will often dictate the street cost of the drug. Click here to find out more about the cost of crack cocaine. 

Getting help for crack addiction

Once crack addiction has formed, it is incredibly hard to get free of the drug. Fortunately, there are many rehab facilities and addiction treatment centers across the country that are able to help. 

Rehab centers, in either an inpatient or outpatient setting, can provide assistance with detox, therapy, and long-term treatment plans to ensure recovery is successful. Find a treatment provider today to help beat addiction.