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Cocaine

Brief Description

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. Although health care providers can use it for valid medical purposes, such as local anesthesia for some surgeries, cocaine is an illegal drug. As a street drug, cocaine looks like a fine, white, crystal powder. Street dealers often mix it with things like cornstarch, talcum powder, or flour to increase profits. They may also mix it with other drugs such as the stimulant amphetamine. Learn more

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Statistics and Trends

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Monitoring the Future Study: Trends in Prevalence of Various Drugs for 8th Graders, 10th Graders, and 12th Graders; 2015 (in percent)*
Drug Time Period 8th Graders 10th Graders 12th Graders
Cocaine Lifetime 1.60 2.70 4.00
Past Year 0.90 1.80 2.50
Past Month 0.50 0.80 1.10
Crack Cocaine Lifetime 1.00 1.10 1.70
Past Year 0.50 0.70 1.10
Past Month 0.30 0.30 0.60

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National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Trends in Prevalence of Various Drugs for Ages 12 or Older, Ages 12 to 17, Ages 18 to 25, and Ages 26 or Older; 2014 (in percent)*
Drug Time Period Ages 12 or Older Ages 12 to 17 Ages 18 to 25 Ages 26 or Older
Cocaine Lifetime 14.80 0.90 11.10 17.10
Past Year 1.70 0.70 4.60 1.40
Past Month 0.60 0.20 1.40 0.50
Crack Cocaine Lifetime 3.60 0.10 1.60 4.30
Past Year 0.30 0.10 0.40 0.30
Past Month 0.10 0.00 0.10 0.20

Related Videos

Related Publications

Publication: Research Report Series - Cocaine

Cocaine (Research Reports)

Published May 1999. Revised May 2016. Describes the latest research findings on cocaine, exploring the scope of abuse in the U.S., its potential long- and short-term health effects, maternal cocaine use, and treatment approaches. En Español

Cocaine (DrugFacts)

Revised June 2016. Provides basic facts about cocaine, including how it affects the brain, other health consequences of its use, and treatment options for people addicted to the drug. En Español

Publication Cover

Cocaine (Mind Over Matter)

Published January 1997. Revised January 2009. Explores with young teens how cocaine changes the way nerve cells communicate in the brain and the negative effects the drug can have on the body. En Español

3D Illustration of the Human Brain

The Brain & the Actions of Cocaine, Opiates, and Marijuana (Teaching Packets)

Revised January 2007. The first in a 5-part series, offers an understanding of the brain, how the reward center works, and what happens in the brain when a person uses cocaine, opiates (heroine), or marijuana.

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Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies in human volunteers conducted to answer specific health questions. Learn about the NIH-sponsored clinical trials available to you.

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This page was last updated June 2016

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National Institute on Drug Abuse. Cocaine Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/cocaine

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Research Report

Research Report Cover

Cocaine

Describes the latest research findings on cocaine, exploring the scope of abuse in the U.S., its potential long- and short-term health effects, maternal cocaine use, and treatment approaches.

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