How Geeking Is Used as a Drug Use Term

crack cocaine packaged for sale
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Geeking is a term used to describe binge crack use—using crack cocaine over and over in a short period of time, at higher and higher doses, to stay high. Someone may go to extreme lengths to raise cash to purchase more crack or take drugs until they are too exhausted to continue use.

“Geeking” is also used to describe erratic or unusual behavior due to intoxication, whether from cocaine or another drug. For example, someone who is "geeking" on crack may exhibit paranoia by obsessively peering out of windows to check for police. People who use high levels of crack have a greater risk of experiencing temporary paranoid psychosis—severe paranoia that causes a loss of touch with reality.

What Is Crack?

Cocaine is made from the leaves of the coca plant, native to South America. Crack cocaine has been processed into rock-like crystals (the reason it’s often called “rock”). An individual can heat the rock to create vapors that are breathed in to get high.

Ever wonder why it’s called “crack”? The name comes from the crackling noise the rock makes during heating.

How Common Is Geeking?

In a clinical study of geeking, binge crack use was defined as, “using as much crack cocaine as you can, until you run out of crack or are unable to use any more.” The study included 303 African American crack users who were HIV positive. Of this sample, 155 reported bingeing on crack cocaine within the preceding 30 days. The researchers asked them to describe their crack-related behaviors and found:

Where They Binged: Forty-one participants (26.5%) binged at home, 47 (30.3%) at a friend’s home, 41 (26.5%) at a hotel, 13 (8.4%) at a sex partner’s home, 17 (11%) in a "crack house", and 10 (6.5%) in an alley, park, public restroom, abandoned house, or “other”.

What a Typical Binge Looked Like: The study participants reported that a typical binge lasted over three days and involved about 40 cocaine rocks.

Why They Stopped Binging: Seventy-four (47.7%) participants said they stopped because they ran out of crack or the money to buy it, and 81 (52.3%) stopped because they were too sick or exhausted to continue.

Other Health Problems Besides Addiction Geeking Causes

Cocaine can have major effects on a person's heart and blood vessels, increasing their risk of having a heart attack or stroke. These effects include raising blood pressure and heart rate and narrowing blood vessels.

Other ways cocaine affects one's body include nausea, dilated pupils, and increased body temperature. In addition, people who use crack long-term may become malnourished due to cocaine-induced loss of appetite.

Cocaine use also lowers a person's inhibitions and impairs their judgment. This often leads to risky sexual behavior that can increase the individual's risk of HIV infection.

What Else Should I Know?

As dangerous as using cocaine (and especially geeking) is, using it together with alcohol or another recreational drug is even more so. For example, you may have heard of people dying from a drug overdose after using cocaine with heroin in a combination known as a “speedball.”

The information provided here comes out of the painful and even fatal experiences of many people who used cocaine and got into geeking. Hopefully what's been learned from them will help keep others from making the same choices.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

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6 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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