What is the effect of cocaine availability on the incidence of cocaine toxicity?

Updated: Sep 01, 2018
  • Author: Lynn Barkley Burnett, MD, EdD, LLB(c); Chief Editor: Sage W Wiener, MD  more...
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The Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment notes that while opioid use (the combination of controlled prescription drugs, synthetic opioids, and heroin) remained the principal threat, having reached epidemic levels over the past decade, methamphetamine abuse has remained prevalent and the cocaine threat appears to be rebounding. Cocaine availability and use increased between 2015 and 2016 in the United States, with past-year cocaine initiates and cocaine-involved poisoning deaths reaching levels equal to or greater than those of 2007. [5]

 According to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Cocaine Signature Program, which studies cocaine seized in the US, 90.2% of cocaine samples tested were of Colombian origin, 7.5% were of Peruvian origin, and 2.3% were of unknown origin; however, most cocaine from Peru appeared to have been processed in Colombia. Most of the bricks analyzed were cut with various diluents; 93% contained levamisole and/or levamisole mixtures with dexamisole. [5]

In recent years, the price per pure gram of cocaine, in quantities of 10 g or less (as would be purchased at the “retail” level) has remained fairly stable, from $182.75 in 2008 to $185.67 in 2012, while purity declined from 51% to 44%. Prices for comparable quantities of crack cocaine in those years were $172.26 and $204.74, respectively. [6]

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