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  • What Is Croak? | Dangers Of Mixing Crack & Methamphetamine

    What Is Croak? | Dangers Of Mixing Crack & Methamphetamine

    Crack cocaine and methamphetamine are both powerful, highly addictive stimulants that can cause severe physical and mental harm, especially with prolonged use.

    Croak, a street name for a combination of the two substances, seriously elevates the risk of addiction and severity of health effects compared to either drug alone.

    What Is Croak?

    Croak is a term that describes smoking a combination of crack cocaine and methamphetamine

    However, given the lack of regulation involved in illegal drug sales and production, it is possible for croak batches to include a wide variety of filler compounds, amphetamine, MDMA, methamphetamine, prescription drugs, and more.

    How Does Croak Work?

    Both crack cocaine and crystal meth are stimulants that work by increasing the activity of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine in the synapses of the brain. However, they work in different ways:

    • Cocaine is a short-lived drug that binds to dopamine transporter proteins that would otherwise remove dopamine, locking the neurotransmitter into the synapses until the drug wears off and/or the body compensates.
    • Methamphetamine is a fully synthetic drug that stays in the brain for long periods of time, blocking dopamine reuptake and stimulating dopamine release, forcing the neurotransmitter to build to excessive and mentally damaging levels.

    If smoked together, both drugs will cause a severe reaction, beginning with a powerful, euphoric rush and intense stimulant high that lasts far longer, and is followed by a far worse crash, than a cocaine high. 

    Health Risks Of Mixing Crack & Methamphetamine

    Polydrug abuse is any drug abuse involving multiple substances. They can be taken together to enhance the drugs’ effects, to counteract a drug’s effects, or simply due to impaired judgement. 

    Polydrug abuse greatly increases bodily toxicity, as well as the risk of harmful physical and mental side-effects. This is true whether the substances involved are:

    • in the same class of drug, as in the case of croak
    • in different classes of drug, such as cocaine and LSD
    • in opposed classes of drug, such as rohypnol (a benzodiazepine that is illegal to use, but often taken to counteract side effects of cocaine use) or speedball (a well-known combination of heroin and cocaine that’s injected or snorted)

    Short-Term Effects

    If crack cocaine and methamphetamine are used together, the combination of stimulant effects on the body can greatly increase short-term physical and mental activity. 

    Pupils can dilate and breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature may all climb. Mental effects, including psychosis, hallucinations, paranoia, and panic, can be more common.

    Sudden death can also occur due to high body temperature leading to organ failure, stroke, or heart attack.

    Serotonin Syndrome

    Serotonin syndrome is a notable short-term complication of drug overdose and/or polydrug abuse that can occur when a wide-variety of drugs that increase brain serotonin (serotonergic drugs) are abused or accidently used in combination. 

    These drugs include methamphetamine, cocaine, opioids, MDMA, lithium, certain herbs, and quite a few more.

    Serotonin syndrome can be mild, moderate, or life-threatening, and is defined as a group of symptoms that may include:

    • high blood pressure
    • elevated heart rate
    • elevated body temperature
    • agitation
    • increased reflexes
    • tremors
    • sweating
    • dilated pupils
    • diarrhea
    • seizures

    If you suspect a drug overdose or bad reaction between two drugs, it’s important to call for emergency medical care as quickly as possible.

    Long-Term Effects

    In the long-term, abusing meth and crack cocaine together will lead to severe mental and physical deterioration, exacerbated by a lack of self-care and malnutrition due to both drugs’ effects as sleep and appetite suppressants.

    Health effects may include:

    Treating Polysubstance Abuse

    Both cocaine and methamphetamine are as habit-forming as they are damaging, and if you’re addicted to one or both of them it can be hard to think or care about anything else besides the next high. 

    However, inpatient addiction treatment programs at Ark Behavioral Health can help you overcome substance use disorder, giving you the tools and support you need to achieve long-term restoration and recovery.

    To learn more, please contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Annals of Clinical Psychiatry - Serotonin Syndrome
    Australian Government Department of Health - Polydrug Abuse
    National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) - Cocaine DrugFacts
    National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) - Methamphetamine DrugFacts

    Medically Reviewed by
    Davis Sugar, M.D.
    on July 11, 2022
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