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Cocaine Statistics By Age, Gender, Ethnicity, More

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Cocaine is one of the most abused illegal drugs in the United States. Take in some significant cocaine abuse and addiction statistics.

Cocaine Statistics

Cocaine is highly addictive. It is theorized that the recent increases in cocaine use in the United States is directly related to increased availability and accessibility.

Cocaine abuse and addiction affect people of all ages, races, ethnicities and other demographics. Interestingly, rates of abuse, addiction, overdose, and use vary across different groups of people.

Cocaine Abuse Statistics By Age

Nearly six million Americans over the age of twelve admitted to using cocaine in 2017. This number increases every year, with an average of one million people using cocaine for the first time each year.

About 136,000 teens and adolescents ages twelve to 17 misused cocaine within a years time in 2016. Of these teens, approximately 28,000 of them abused cocaine in the previous 30 days.

More than 1.9 million adults aged 18 to 25 disclosed they had used cocaine in 2016. This is the highest rate of cocaine use in an age bracket. A little less than a quarter of these individuals acknowledged abusing cocaine within 30 days.

The second highest cocaine use was within the ages of 26 to 34. Almost 1.5 million people of this age used cocaine in the past year, and one-third of those occurred within the last month.

Interestingly, more than 527,000 people who abuse cocaine are over the age of 55. In addition, cocaine abuse occurs across all age groups.

Over 867,000 people self-reported information that met criteria for cocaine addiction, or cocaine use disorder in 2016. Most of these individuals were over the age of 26 (623,000).

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Cocaine Use Stats And Gender

Men and women abuse drugs at vastly different rates, and cocaine use is no different. Approximately 1.3 percent of all women reported using cocaine in 2016, and the percentage of men was nearly double that at 2.5 percent.

Based on the Treatment Episode Data Set Admissions (TEDS-A) from 2017, approximately 107,033 women were admitted to treatment for cocaine, either as a primary or secondary drug of choice.

The TEDS-A data also reported that 194,168 men sought substance abuse treatment for cocaine use, both primary and secondary. However, it is estimated that well over 867,000 men and women were in need of treatment for cocaine use disorder.

Men were hospitalized for cocaine overdoses at nearly double the rate of women in 2015. Approximately 12,500 men and 6,386 women were treated for cocaine poisoning over the course of the year.

More men die as a result of a cocaine overdose when compared to women. Over 7,400 men died due to a cocaine overdose death, and 2,882 women died as a result of overdose from cocaine.

Cocaine Abuse Information And Race

Cocaine use is highest among white people, black people, and the Hispanic population. However, cocaine use is prevalent across races, as detailed here:

Cocaine Use By Race / Ethnicity

  • white – 3,362,000
  • Hispanic – 768,000
  • black – 612,000
  • Asian – 101,000
  • Native American – 31,000
  • Pacific Islander / Hawaiian – 18,000

Overall, cocaine use is similar across different races. Between 1.2 and 2 percent of each race/ethnicity has reported using cocaine. Individuals who identify with two or more races or ethnicities have a slightly higher (2.2 percent) rate of cocaine abuse.

Statistically, black people have a higher rate of overdose death as a result of cocaine use than other races. Overdose deaths from cocaine occur more frequently for black people than white or Hispanic individuals.

Cocaine Use And Driving Under The Influence

Just less than half of drivers from all traffic fatalities tested positive for drugs in 2016. This is nearly double the percentage from 2007.

Of the 33,375 toxicology reports ran on deceased motorists, 31 percent of these individuals tested positive for stimulants, like cocaine. Over 12,000 of those motorists had more than one substance in their system at the time of the accident.

Cocaine tends to increase aggression, and, when used with other drugs, can amplify the effects of the additional substances. This can be dangerous in many situations, especially operating a motor vehicle.

Statistics For Cocaine Overdose

According to the CDC, in 2015, for every 100,000 people across the country, approximately 18,558 people were hospitalized due to cocaine overdoses. That is nearly 600,000 cocaine overdoses that resulted in hospital visits in one years time.

Geographically, more cocaine overdoses occur in the south and the northeast than in any other area of the United States. This could be due to the increased availability in the south and the larger metropolitan areas of the northeast.

Just over ten percent of all drug overdoses were cocaine overdoses, according to emergency room data information.

Cocaine Treatment Outcomes

A standard treatment protocol for a person struggling with cocaine addiction should include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and programs that encourage support system development.

Substance abuse rehab programs can be structured in a number of ways to provide treatment for addiction, including cocaine.

Options like inpatient treatment, outpatient services, group, and individual therapies, and treating co-occurring disorders are all appropriate options.

Maintaining social networks and support has shown to be an effective method for long-term sobriety from substance abuse and addiction, including cocaine addiction.

A nationwide study investigated the outcomes of 1,648 individuals who sought treatment for cocaine addiction. About 40% of those in this study returned to rehab one or more times within five years of initial substance abuse treatment.

Archives of General Psychiatry - https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/206441

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/pdf/pubs/2018-cdc-drug-surveillance-report.pdf

Monitoring the Future - http://monitoringthefuture.org/pubs/monographs/mtf-overview2018.pdf

National Institute on Drug Abuse - https://archives.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/monograph110.pdf

National Institute on Drug Abuse - https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-cocaine

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - http://samhda.s3-us-gov-west-1.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/field-uploads-protected/studies/TEDS-A-2017/TEDS-A-2017-datasets/TEDS-A-2017-DS0001/TEDS-A-2017-DS0001-info/TEDS-A-2017-DS0001-info-codebook.pdf

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/cbhsq-reports/NSDUHDetailedTabs2017/NSDUHDetailedTabs2017.pdf

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR1-2016/NSDUH-FFR1-2016.pdf

U.S. Department of Transportation - https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/documents/13839-drugged_facts_flyer_101918_v8_002.pdf

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC
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