Crack addiction is a public health problem not only in the United States but also in Canada, Europe, Australia, and Mexico. The 2007 US National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that more than 8.5 million Americans had used crack at least once in their lifetime. Some of the risk factors for crack abuse and addiction include: [1]

  • Cocaine addiction: more than 60% of crack addicts have had cocaine dependence at some point in their lives.
  • Race/ethnicity: African Americans are more likely to use crack but less likely than Whites to develop an addiction to crack.
  • Neighborhoods: People living in poorer urban neighborhoods tend to have higher exposure to crack.
  • Social/economic disadvantage: Those who have lower levels of economic and social capital are at increased risk for all kinds of addiction, including crack addiction.
  • Family history: There is a known genetic link in addictive disorders, and a family history of addiction increases a person’s risk.
  • Mental health: There is a high rate of co-morbidity between mental illness and addiction, and people with mental health issues are much more likely to develop an addiction.
  • Trauma: Having a trauma history or experiencing adverse experiences as a child predisposes a person to addiction in later life.
  • Stress: People who are experiencing high levels of stress are more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol to cope, and when they do, they are more likely to become addicted than those using for social or enjoyment purposes.

Being predisposed to an addiction does not guarantee that you will develop one. While these factors can make you more vulnerable to addiction, they can only develop into an addiction when a person chooses to use drugs, normally on a regular basis. If you have any questions, call the addiction hotline for more information on crack addiction.

Last updated: November 15, 2022


1 Falck RS, Wang J, Carlson RG. Among long-term crack smokers, who avoids and who succumbs to cocaine addiction? Drug Alcohol Depend. 2008;98(1-2):24-29. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2008.04.004