What is the prevalence of cocaine toxicity in the US?

Updated: Sep 01, 2018
  • Author: Lynn Barkley Burnett, MD, EdD, LLB(c); Chief Editor: Sage W Wiener, MD  more...
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The 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that approximately 1.9 million people aged 12 or older (about 0.7% of the population) had used cocaine within the past month. Of those, about 354,000 were users of crack. The 2016 estimate for current cocaine use was lower than the estimates for 2002 to 2006, but was similar to the estimates for most years from 2007 to 2015. The prevalence of cocaine use disorder has remained fairly stable since 2010; in 2016, 867,000 people (0.3%) aged 12 or older had a cocaine use disorder in the past year. [1]

From the early 1970s until its discontinuation in 2011, the Drug Abuse Awareness Network (DAWN), a national survey of approximately 600 hospital EDs, reported the number of episodes of patients seeking treatment related to their use of an illegal drug or their nonmedical use of a legal drug. According to DAWN, in 2011, cocaine accounted for 505,224 (40.3%) of the approximately 1,252,500 ED visits that involved illicit drugs. The rate of involvement was higher for cocaine, at 162 ED visits per 100,000 population, than for any other illicit drug. [21]

From 2012 to 2015, drug overdose cases involving cocaine increased markedly in the United States, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). However, much of that increase was linked to the use of cocaine in combination with opioids. [22]

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