Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Stop using Crack/cocaine and reclaim your life

In this video I explain the first stage of recovery

and in this one I explain in simple terms how Crack/Cocaine effect the brain

here in part 3...I explain the medical effects on body

Visit my website to see much more information on crack/cocaine at



The complete book is now available in paperback or kindle, just click on the image to the right of this blog.

                                  this video contains the first 13 chapters

Stop using Crack/cocaine
Reclaim your life

Louise Clarke

I decided to write this book 10 years ago, I had been working with crack users for 9 years  and had made it my busyness to learn all there was to learn.

When I first began (1991) I had just finished my degree in psychology and was attending a counselling course. A requirement of that course was that I did some voluntary work, I approached a drugs service and they welcomed me to work for them. Not long there a women came in saying ‘I’m a crack head someone better see me now!’. Crack users were not coming to drug projects at this time and projects weren’t inviting them; they didn’t know how to help them. As she came in all my colleges disappeared. I told her I don’t know anything about crack but I would try to help her. This I did and on the back of that many of her mates followed demanding to see me. My boss said I had something special and employed me to work specifically with this client group.

When I began there wasn’t much information available on crack in this country, and no internet. I managed to obtain some books from the states but they only talked about what the drug was and how it worked biologically. Not how to help people get off.

After working with them trying my best to understand their experience, problems in stopping etc, it became apparent that there were 6 types of users. And very few tools to help them. Recovery patterns emerged and familiar tricks were shown by crack like the drug had a personality.

I stayed in the voluntary sector until 1997, but the politics changed here in England, on the way the services run. Previously government provided very little funding to drug services and virtually none for crack users. Thus services received mainly charitable funds. And because no one was really tackling crack users I was allowed to develop a service to meet the client’s needs.

Government funding later increased for drug services, but in return they wanted more information on the clients, to show what public monies was being used for. Although understandable this meant I would need to ask intrusive questions on first appointment; and for many clients paranoia is present thus this need to ask questions can get in the way. I therefore decided to set up my own private and independent service; 1997 which I funded by providing training to professionals working with crack users throughout Britain.

Through working with all types of users I come to realise there are basically 6 types of users. I was in the process of writing this book when along came a client who didn’t fit. Didn’t make much sense she behaved like a 24/7 user yet had stopped using. This type 7 I came to learn involved other elements that involves issues that sit outside the BOX of general public thinking. I am still trying to grasp the whole picture 10 years in.

In this book I try to help you the users understand the drug better, knowledge is power. I want to give you the tools to reduce the cravings and stay clean.  I explain the recovery process stage by stage so you will know what to expect. With the knowledge, the tools and a realistic view of the situation there is no reason why you can’t stop using.

There are myths out there that you can’t get off crack, maybe you think you are too bad on it, too weak, but the truth is you can reclaim your life, it belongs to you not crack. I have never seen one client who wants to stop and can’t. You can and you will.

Best wishes for your success

Louise Clarke
Show the world who you were meant to be!

Chapter 1 Who uses Crack?

Firstly I would say no specific group of people use Crack/cocaine it’s an equal opportunities drug, available to all. It doesn’t discriminate. Even the price is adjusted to meet the needs of your spending power.
Wealthy people can still pay huge amounts to purchase a gram of coke or lump of coke (crack). Poor people can have it at reduced price, even free sometimes to start you off. The media has done its best to create an illusion that crack is for Black people and that coke is for rich people, by only delivering stories that fit these profiles, but because it is an equal ops drug, all types of people have the opportunity to try.

Players and plodders

Saying that, I do think crack /cocaine attracts a certain type of person, it attracts players and potentially major players and reduces them to plodders. The potential players may feel they are someone special but are not getting the openings in life, when they take crack/cocaine they feel they are players already. Players can be impatient people and crack/cocaine gives you a feeling of instant success, to begin with, then it aims to remove every chance you had. You may already be successful in your life, but crack will in time destroy your success. Openings come but you blow them, thanks to a little help from crack to make sure you mess up the chance. When you take on this realisation you can see what sort of function crack/cocaine serves to keep the underclasses on the bottom; for by removing the potential players who is going to lead the way for change?!!!

Chapter 2 how long does it take to become addicted

Grow your own

The process of the relationship with crack is such; it is like you’re planting a seed in your brain the first time you use it. But seeds don’t just sprout over night, you have to water them. They go through an incubation period and in time after regular watering a little shoot comes through. With crack if you water the seed regular in 6-7 months your shoot will come through. And you’ll know when it has happened cos you start dreaming about it, can’t stop thinking about it. Up until it sprouts you may use loads more than you intended, but it isn’t addiction: you could stop! But after 6 months it’s a different ball game, you can’t stop yourself even starting.

The picture is like so:
Diagram 1 : planting seed
The brain with a crack seed, first hit you plant the seed

Diagram 2 after 6 months a seed shoots, addiction starts

Keep watering it and soon it will become a strong tree.

Diagram 3: Tree takes over

Meanwhile the tree suffocates the positive you, telling you what to do. Asking you to do things you wouldn’t normally do. You feel your will to fight for full control over your life is shrinking. Consequently you don’t feel good about yourself. Which weakens your fight further, leaving you with thoughts of what’s the point if I fail?

Diagram 4: self/crack

Diagram 5 : Starve the tree

In order to get yourself back into a position of control you need to stop watering the tree to be freed from its suffocation. A tree needs water to survive, without it it dies. If you stop watering the tree in your brain with crack then it will gradually shrivel up and die. Meanwhile your old self comes back and you start growing again.

Within a month the tree will lose its leaves, pass 2 years and it will be a seed again. You cannot remove the seed. But like in Africa once you water the dried up soil the seeds sprout again. The struggle you foresee in stopping may put you off trying. The struggle is not the same for the whole 2 years it takes to get rid of the tree. The first month getting rid of the leaves is the hardest part (craving wise). There are different stages of recovery you will go through.
You may find stopping completely too difficult, in that case try to reduce how often you use: this will at least weaken the tree. When it comes to getting from cutting down to abstinence you will need to focus on the task and use the tools that will assist you in your fight.

Chapter 3   Am I addicted?

Crack isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

So you use crack!   Maybe you don’t think you have a problem, maybe you recognise you do. Maybe you’re not sure. There’s a very simple way of finding out. If you use daily you probably won’t need to do this test as you will probably be aware it is a problem, b but if you use
 Fortnightly you may be conning yourself that it isn’t a problem. ‘Why you don’t use every day and you don’t get sick’. The picture painted of an addict by society is that an addict has to use everyday or they will get sick. The truth is addiction is not just this: addiction is when something becomes compulsive. You may say I don’t do it because it’s compulsive, I do it because I enjoy it; but if your honest with yourself , you know you think about using a lot , you work hard to finance it, and it is not cheap. And when I say work hard I mean work hard.

Simple test

If you still think it is not a problem then do this simple test. Firstly think how often you use. Lets say it is once a month on pay day. 4 weeks, try and do 5 weeks. If you do last 5 weeks you have nothing to worry about yet, but if you’ve been using for 6 months the chances are you won’t be able to do it.

If you think you have a problem or think you may fail the above test, read on. If you don’t think you will fail the test you could read out of curiosity or wait until you have your test results.

Love story
You’re in love your in love with crack. Crack is like a lover that is no good for ya, but you can’t leave them. Crack is very manipulative. It will get you to do things you normally wouldn’t. It is very cunning it makes you feel powerful and in control, whilst it manipulates the running’s of your life. You may keep trying to leave it but you always go back. It suffocates your self esteem. So you stay enslaved. Following cracks agenda. Your own agenda goes out the window.

Chapter 4 :Lovely food and weather

There are 2 parts of the brain very important in understanding addiction to Crack.

The first is like a light bulb has been switched on, the more the area is stimulated the brighter it gets and it controls alertness and awareness. In reverse un-stimulated you become tired bored asleep. If damaged you would be comatose.
It is a very old part of the brain, thus works more with instinct than involving much thinking.
It is called the Reticular formation.

Another aspect of this part is more subtle. An example would be hearing someone say your name at a party, you hear it, but other people don’t. It’s something only you are tuned into. Another example is a matter hears her baby crying, whilst others don’t hear.

When you smoke crack it first stimulates this area. Making you very awake, alert and like someone turned your lights on in your head. Everything is noticeable you become aware of much more in your surroundings and consequently many of the things in your surroundings become subtly associated with using. The result is at a later date when you see the things in your surroundings that were seen in a high state, you have a high chance of these objects working like triggers to start cravings, and subtle they are. When cocaine (or crack that now in the body is recognised as cocaine) hit’s the brain, its first port of call is the reticular formation. Here it experiences it like someone has turned all the lights on; no wonder you can’t get to sleep. After the lights are all on, it sends a message to the part of the brain that controls our needs/drives called the Hypothalamus.
The Hypothalamus governs all our drives, that is the drive to eat, drink and have sex, it also tells us when to stop wanting these things: when we have had enough.

Due to cocaine’s stimulation of this area it isn’t long before cocaine adds itself to the “needs” list. It becomes a need in its self.

With the other needs they are natural, the hypothalamus has sections for both to start and stop, each need can say “ I don’t need anymore I’ve had enough”. But nature didn’t anticipate the arrival of crack. So crack pushes its self into a position of a nagging need, but there is no creation of a part that signals I’ve had enough, no stop. In fact the drive to get crack/cocaine overrides all the other need signals. When rats (in labs) become addicted to cocaine they will choose cocaine over all other needs every time and given access to unlimited supply, they will choose to use it to the point of death! There is no stop or I’ve had enough.

This may help you understand why this drug is so addictive.

The motor way network

Nerves are like a motor way network going all over the body. Passing messages along their networks to and from the brain.

A simple nerve looks like this.

The message is received by the cell body.
If the stimulation is enough the message will go along the axon on to the pre synaptic button.

If we enlarge the synapse button even more it would look like this.

Synaptic buttons

In the buttons are little sacks called Vesicles that contain different chemicals, technically known as neuro

Don’t get scared off by these new words, this info helps you understand and I will make it as simple as can be. All other books on crack use these words and scare people off, once you understand my simple translations those books will be easy for you to read. So read on it will be worth it. !

There are many neuro chemicals in the brain, at least 50: all carrying different messages.

I’m only focusing on the main 2.


First Dopamine, this is the chemical of pleasure, to experience pleasure we need Dopamine, when we experience pleasure Dopamine is released

No Dopamine = no pleasure!

Safety nets
Secondly Norepinephrine which is a chemical that is there to stop us getting depressed its like having rubber rings, it keeps you afloat, stops you from going under.

No Norepinephrine = we sink!

Recycling the chemicals

Remember the nerve is stimulated; this causes the release of the chemicals. The chemicals pass across a space to the next nerve again stimulating more chemical release.

Synaptic exchange

Normally after enough stimulation has occurred and the Dopamine has been received into the post synaptic space, the message is passed along that nerve in the same manner, informing the brain of the experience of pleasure.

The Dopamine now after completing its task returns back to its previous pre-synaptic button. To be released again at a later date. It gets recycled again and again.

It is here where things go terribly wrong when you use crack/cocaine. The release of large amounts Dopamine has occurred, basically nearly all the brain has, hence the high. After being received by the post synaptic button it is sent back, but the cocaine has changed Dopamine’s chemical structure, it’s like the molecules are now wearing silver jackets and the bouncers at the pre-synaptic button door says “we don’t recognise you in that jacket, so you can’t come back in”. The chemical has changed its form through mixing with cocaine and consequently there is no return occurs. That is the dopamine can’t get back, so it just floats around giving you a headache. No one is going home. ”oh who cares”, you may say when all the dopamine is kicking in, but once the launch has reached its heights and you’re plummeting down faster than the speed of light, you first come to find out about the rubber rings I talked of earlier, remember the Norepinephrine rubber rings that stop you going under and feeling depressed, whilst you were using all the dopamine, you also threw out all your rubber rings. There has been a total clearance of both chemicals, boy do you feel low!!!!!! Where you may use 3 bits of dopamine to find a joke funny, which also later returns home. When you use crack all the dopamine is used and the Norepinephrine and neither are allowed back home. This explains to you why the highs are so high but now you’re on the way down with no rubber rings in sight and it don’t feel good as you crash land at the bottom.
Now things can only get worse, no dopamine no pleasure without dopamine we can’t even make a smile on our face, the chemical is needed to make the jaw do its thing.

The next part of behaviour is where crack smoking becomes illogical.  You think I need more crack to get me out of this pit, plus get back up where I was. You smoke more but you can’t get back up there, in fact you are hardly getting out of the ditch on your second journey. This little lift you may experience is the dredges of Dopamine being wiped out from the inside of the pre – synaptic button. And that’s your lot their isn’t anymore and there still isn’t any sign of the rubber rings. So down you go, you try more rocks to get out of the ditch but it just gets worse. Truth is you can only really get the hit off the first pipe and then the funs over for those who felt it was fun not all do.

But you cant stop even if your aware of this, because remember the hypothalamus earlier, who made crack its greatest need, greater than food, drink, sex well when you use your first pipe of the day, it stimulates the hypothalamus to drive you to use more, so even when you know its over (the fun bit) you still are compelled to use more.

In addition to this the brain tries always to create balance in the chemistry of the body. It sees there is an imbalance of dopamine being released and reacts by making the receptors, the spaces in the post synaptic button to become less sensitive to cope with so much being released. The result of this is when in normal life you try to be happy it will take a lot more!!!

Looking at it the other way round though , when you stop the brain will try to compensate for the lack of dopamine and the small release , and so when it notices the flooding of the  chemical has stopped it will produce more to balance things.

You are asking now if you used up all your dopamine and it can’t go back then does the brain make more?

Yes it does but normally it only makes a little, slowly. As it is recycled in the normal drug free life. So the production is a slow process I don’t know exactly how long the cycle usually takes but people seem to stabilise emotionally after about one month clean.

In a normal situation like a joke being told , there is stimulation to release the dopamine so we can experience pleasure.
If you do read other books on crack, they may use the word neuro transmitters which mean the same as neuro chemicals.

Neuro = nerves

You may be asking what has this got to do with lovely food and weather. Nothing, but if I had written the brain in the title you wouldn’t of maybe read this chapter. Well done. I hope it makes sense of how the drug works.

Chapter 5 What are the medical risks?

When we look at crack or cocaine to a certain extent once they enter the body they are the same. Crack on entering the body is registered as being cocaine, Crack is only cocaine and bicarbonate soda mixed together to make it burn longer, the bicarb does nothing in itself.

Now when we look at cocaine a common problem snorters experience is nose bleeds and even sometimes holes in their noses. We need to understand another aspect of the drug. Around 100 years ago coke was used as an anaesthetic for surgical operations. The reason it was used was because it has the ability to restrict blood vessels, thus when doing surgery it reduced the blood loss. Meanwhile it numbed the area, reduced the pain felt.

When coke is snorted into the nose it restricts the blood flow therein. This reduces the blood flow and we all were told by our Mums that if we keep the rubber band too tight round our finger we stop the blood flow: oxygen and nutrition can't flow to the fingertips. Left too long the fingertip would start to rot. This is what happens to constant users noses. Restricted blood flow stops nutrition getting to contact area and starts to rot. Hence the hole where the tissue inside the nose has rotted. This is true for where ever you place the coke constantly on/in your body.

With crack the smoke goes through the mouth down the throat and into the lungs restricting blood flow all along the way. When some crack users lungs are x-rayed you can see scarred tissues and if you use you have probably coughed up black phlegm which is dried blood.

What are the medical risks I am taking?

7 ways to die choose one!

When you look how crack cocaine affects the body, firstly you see it is a stimulant. It stimulates you, wakes you up.

 The body has 2 nervous systems

 One is the central nervous system made up of the brain and the spinal cord; I have written how crack affects the brain in chapter 4
The second nervous system is the autonomic nervous system that without us even thinking our body creates the best bodily rhythms to meet our needs at any given time. Heart rate breathing rate etc

You may of heard of fight or flight reactions , what this is when a threatening situation occurs our body gets ready for action, stimulants induce the release of adrenalin that speeding up the heart rate, breathing, which increases blood flow to muscles to enable us to move fast. It also heats up our body, everything is ordered to go fast.

Crack cocaine is a stimulant meaning it stimulates the autonomic nervous system to be sympathetic to our needs, increasing the tempo of the body rhythms.

.This is the opposite the drug reaction caused by heroin, hash, tranquilizers and alcohol. These drugs slow everything down. They are medical term you may know, these drugs as depressants. They depress the body rhythms to slow down and rest.

 Now what's all this got to do with medical issues you may say? The fact is if you use too much crack/cocaine or don't stop when your body is screaming at you for a rest, you are heading for an over dose.

7 ways to die

1, First way to die Heart Attack

 That is the heart may race so fast, that through the extreme racing caused by crack you have a heart attack. You have probably already experienced heart palpitations, where you can feel your heart pounding in your chest. The heart either goes too fast resulting in a heart attack or it starts losing its rhythm as it is going too fast and again a heart attack.

2, The second way to die is lung failure,

 Basically the drug s causing the breathing to increase to such an extent whilst the crack/cocaine is causing the areas for absorbing oxygen to restrict, reducing oxygen intake. The lungs struggle to breathe faster, until they get tired and slow right down and eventually stop. = respiratory failure.

3Third way to die Stroke

Stroke (cerebral haemorrhaging) all this increased heart rate. Increased breathing causes the blood pressure to rise. When blood pressure rises too high it puts a strain on the blood vassals in the brain and if there is a weak vassal it will burst and blood will leak into the brain. Medically known as cerebral (brain) haemorrhaging. This is a stroke and wherever the leakage occurs   damage to that site in the brain may be the result.

4 Forth way to die Epilepsy

Whether you suffer from epilepsy or not crack /cocaine affects the part of the brain responsible for epilepsy (in the limbic system) it gradually weakens the area until fits begin to occur. If you already have epilepsy it will make it worse and this weakness that occurs can not be reversed. The worst type of seizure is a Grand Mal: this one can take you out.

You may not be aware that you even have fits, if you use on your own. The way you can tell is if when you smoke/use you find you are passing out and don't remember anything when you come round. you have probably been fitting . You may find you have bitten your tongue it may be bleeding.

5 Fith way to die Blood and sugar levels

If you are diabetic you need to be aware that crack cocaine raises your blood sugar level.

6 Sixth way to die Deficiency in Pseudocholinesterase

There is an enzyme in our body that breaks down the cocaine, some people (but this is rare) are deficient in this enzyme and consequently can't break cocaine down. This can be fatal.

7 Seventh way to die Suicide

Sometimes because of the severe lows experienced after using and the added depression, guilt, paranoia shame etc users attempt suicide. Although saying that most crack users solution is to find more crack, I say this as far to often I hear of crack users found dead are reported as suicides when often that isn’t the truth but a easy way to solve case.

Deficiency in Vitamins C and B

If you did biology at school you know that vitamin C is for your skin without it we get scurvy. Smoke even cigarettes smoke destroys vitamin C. If you use you probably have noticed your skin is very dry. Vitamin B is for your nervous system. This is self explanatory. When you read all this chapter you see the nervous system is being knocked for six.


As of yet I haven't been able to find any research on how rack/cocaine affects calcium use, but throughout my time working with crack/cocaine users I have seen arthritis in many young people. Why? I don't yet know but I do know calcium is needed to make healthy bones and teeth and while we are on the subject crack/cocaine users teeth become transparent in colour grey and loose. Again no research but reported to me by clients.

Sickle cell/Thalassaemia anaemia

Again I can't obtain any research on sickle cell and crack/cocaine but logically if sickle cell/Thalassaemia is where the blood cells which carry oxygen are sickle shaped rather than round.

Insert  (sickle cell drawing to be posted)

And the problem of pain is due to lack of oxygen carried in the blood, it remains logical to conclude that crack reduces oxygen intake in the lungs by restricting the air sacs. Then added reduced oxygen intake must negatively affect sickle cell /Thalassaemia sufferers.

HIV and Aids

Crack will weaken your immune system which HIV effects.

More chapters are now available at my web site
visit my website at

A direct link to the book is
Thank you for reading .One Love