Crack addiction is a public health problem not only in the United States but also in Canada, Europe, Australia, and Mexico. The 2022 US National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that more than 10 million Americans had used crack at least once in their lifetime. [1] Some of the risk factors for crack abuse and addiction include: [2]

  • 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.
  • Neighborhood: 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 for addictive disorders. 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. 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 mean that you will definitely develop a drug dependence. While these factors can make you more vulnerable to addiction, they can only develop into an addiction when you choose to use drugs on a regular basis. If you have any questions about risk factors for crack addiction, call the addiction hotline for more information.

Last updated: March 12, 2024


1 SAMHSA. NSDUH 2022. Available online. Accessed on March 12, 2024.
2 Drug Alcohol Depend. 2008;98(1-2):24-29. doi:10.1016/ j.drugalcdep. 2008.04.004 Falck RS, Wang J, Carlson RG. Among long-term crack smokers, who avoids and who succumbs to cocaine addiction? Available online. Accessed on March 12, 2024.