Dear Dr. Wallace:

I’m not involved in the drug scene. I’ve never taken a drug and never will. I’ve dated two guys who did drugs. One was doing meth and smoking pot, and another did cocaine and then crack cocaine.

The guy who did cocaine occasionally really flipped out when he started smoking crack cocaine. I really cared for this guy, but crack cocaine changed his personality.

What’s in crack cocaine that makes a person flip? He would really go nuts sometimes on that stuff.

— Angel,

El Paso, Texas

Dear Angel: I receive many letters and emails from readers wanting information on crack cocaine.

The introduction of crack cocaine into the drug community was particularly alarming. First, the cost of crack is dramatically less than other forms of cocaine. Next, crack is usually mixed with tobacco or marijuana and smoked. Smoking crack allows high doses of cocaine to reach the brain almost instantly, producing the most dramatic cocaine high. This rapid “high” is followed by a deep “low” that leaves the user craving more and more to regain the “high.” As a result, crack can be quite rapidly addicting.

Besides addiction, crack can cause medical problems and even death.

The powerful cravings for crack cocaine make it very difficult for the user to break the habit alone.

Most cocaine addicts need professional assistance. Need I say more? Stay far away from anyone who uses this very dangerous substance.

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Write to Dr. Wallace at rwallace@galesburg.net.