Cocaine is not a new drug, but “freebasing” or, literally, breaking down cocaine hydrochloride (or “salt”) and changing it from its salt form to its original or “base” form is relatively new. “Freebasing” cocaine consists of dissolving the “salt” cocaine in water. This solution is then filtered to remove any impurities, then ammonia is added to the liquid.
Once this new mixture is formed, it has a cloudy appearance. Ether is then added to this mixture. A vigorous shaking dissolves the freebase. The ether can then be removed, as it is heavier than the freebase, and will evaporate. Smoking “freebase” cocaine produces an immediate “rush” because the drug goes directly to the lungs, where it is absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream. From there, it’s a very quick journey to the brain. The “rush” wears off quickly, but the “high” feeling stays around for a few minutes longer, maybe five to ten.
However, some users feel that even that short amount of time is too long, so they take one “hit” after another until the freebase is gone. This is called “slamming”. A better word might be “stupid”, but that’s just one opinion. “Freebasing” carries its own little dangers, besides those, that come from using the stuff that is left over from the little science project that produces it. For instance, the ether that is used is very flammable. That means that an explosion can occur, or something can catch on fire, or for that matter someone can catch on fire, especially if ether fumes are present on the clothing or skin.
So, one can snort cocaine, inject cocaine, or smoke cocaine in another form besides “crack”. They all have their dangers, so one way is “safer” than another. The only safe way to use cocaine? Don’t use cocaine!