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Cocaine Use Statistics

Most people believe that cocaine offers a relatively low threat these days. And in some ways, there is a good reason for this. According to the Substance Abuse and Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, cocaine use peaked in the early 1980s, and steadily declined until the early 1990s. Since then, cocaine use has been rising again in the United States.

The fact that nearly half of all drug related emergency room visits are connected to cocaine (according to drug-statistics.com) attests to the fact that cocaine is again becoming a substance abuse problem. Indeed, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that emergency room visits involving cocaine has increased 33 percent. It is estimated that about two million people are cocaine addicts in the United States, and that between 22 and 25 million people have used cocaine at least once.

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), part of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, among those 12 and older, about 0.7 percent of the population used cocaine - including crack cocaine - in the past month. This may not seem like a great many people, but trends indicate that the number is starting to rise again. In fact, this translates to more than a million new users per year.

Cocaine is most commonly used by adults. Even in the 1980s, most cocaine users were at least 18 years of age. Now that age hovers around 21 years old for first time use, according to SAMHSA. Indeed, the age group with the highest percentage of cocaine use is the 18-25 age group. Drug-statistics.com reports that college students have been increasing their use of cocaine - up to 4.8 percent from 2 percent in 1994.

Males are more likely to use cocaine than females, as it is often associated with livingly dangerously and wildly. However, that gap is narrowing. There are now 0.7 million new male users each year, and 0.5 million new females each year. Sadly, more than 400,000 infants are born addicted to cocaine each year in the United States.

The good news is that among high school sophomores, the use of cocaine is decreasing. NIDA reports that past-year use of crack cocaine decreased in 10th graders from 2.3 percent to 1.6 percent. This is encouraging, and it is hopeful that today's teenagers will continue to avoid cocaine even after they reach the 18-25 age group. There is speculation that the decline in cocaine use among teenagers is more to do with the inexpensive availability of prescription drugs.

Cocaine use is also found along racial lines. The most common group of cocaine abusers are American Indians and/or Alaskan natives. Their rate of cocaine use is about 2 percent. Other cocaine use rates include 1.6 percent for African Americans, 0.8 percent for Caucasians, 0.8 percent for Hispanics, 0.6 percent for Pacific Islanders and/or Native Hawaiians and 0.2 percent for Asians. As a result, some agency resources are being concentrated in areas where cocaine use is higher.

It is clear that despite encouraging trends in the late 1980s, cocaine use is again on the rise. It is important to stop the potential for this addiction as early as possible in order to avoid many of the problems that plagued the early to mid 80s.