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Crack cocaine, crack or rock is a solid, smokable form of cocaine. It is a freebase form of cocaine that can be made using baking soda, in a process to convert powder cocaine into freebase cocaine. In purer forms, crack rocks appear as off-white nuggets with jagged edges, with a slightly higher density than candle wax. Purer forms of crack resemble a hard brittle plastic, in crystalline form. A crack rock acts as a local anesthetic, numbing the tongue or mouth only where directly placed. When smoked, crack can leave the tongue numb where the smoke enters the mouth. Purer forms of crack will sink in water or melt at the edges when near a flame (crack vaporizes at 90 °C, 194 °F). Crack cocaine is a substance that affects the brain chemistry of the user: causing euphoria, supreme confidence, loss of appetite, insomnia, alertness, increased energy, a craving for more cocaine, and potential paranoia. Its initial effect is to release a large amount of dopamine, a brain chemical inducing feelings of euphoria. The high usually lasts from 5–10 minutes, after which time dopamine levels in the brain plummet, leaving the user feeling depressed and low. When crack is dissolved and injected, the absorption into the bloodstream is as rapid as by smoking, and similar euphoria with purer forms of crack. There has been some controversy over the disproportionate sentences mandated by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for crack cocaine (versus powder cocaine) since 1987. Whereas it is a 5-year minimum sentence for trafficking 500g of powdered cocaine, the same sentence can be imposed for mere possession of 5 grams of crack cocaine, a 100:1 ratio. There is no mandatory minimum sentence for mere possession of powder cocaine. The United States Sentencing Commission has recommended that this disparity be rectified and existing sentences reduced. Some claim that this disparity amounts to institutional racism, as crack cocaine is more common in inner-city black communities, and powder cocaine in white suburban communities. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]
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