Methamphetamine abuse makes the headlines, but addiction to the potent solid form of cocaine known as “crack” is still a big problem in Atlanta 20 years after it came on the scene, says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “About 50 percent of drug-related emergency room visits at Grady Memorial Hospital are attributed to crack,” said Becky Vaughn of the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse. Also known as “rock” for its resemblance to soap chips, crack provides its users with an intense high, or “rush,” for 10 to 25 minutes. Since 2000, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab has tested fewer samples of confiscated cocaine and marijuana and tests of meth have more than doubled. Police raided 701 meth labs in Georgia last year, up from 29 just four years earlier.
The history of drug abuse in the U.S. has changed in most generations in the popular hard drug of choice, said Sherri Strange of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Atlanta. “When we got to crack in the late ’80s, we got stuck, and that’s why we called it an epidemic,” Strange said. “Now we have meth, which is 10 times a more powerful stimulant than cocaine. It’s a horrible cycle.” Regarding cocaine, she said, “We’ve been working with the Colombian government, and they have a number of initiatives going. They’re making seizures and shutting down cocaine labs, and I think we’ll see increased prices for cocaine and declining purity.”