What is the scope of cocaine use in the United States?
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), cocaine use has remained relatively stable since 2009. In 2014, there were an estimated 1.5 million current (past-month) cocaine users aged 12 or older (0.6 percent of the population). Adults aged 18 to 25 years have a higher rate of current cocaine use than any other age group, with 1.4 percent of young adults reporting past-month cocaine use.4
The 2015 Monitoring the Future survey, which annually surveys teen attitudes and drug use, reports a significant decline in 30-day prevalence of powder cocaine use among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders from peak use in the late 1990s. In 2014, 1.1 percent of 12th graders and only 0.8 percent of 10th and half a percent of 8th graders reported using cocaine in the past month.5
Repeated cocaine use can produce addiction and other adverse health consequences. In 2014, according to the NSDUH, about 913,000 Americans met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria for dependence or abuse of cocaine (in any form) during the past 12 months. Further, data from the 2011 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report showed that cocaine was involved in 505,224 of the nearly 1.3 million visits to emergency departments for drug misuse or abuse. This translates to over one in three drug misuse or abuse-related emergency department visits (40 percent) that involved cocaine.6
This series of reports simplifies the science of research findings for the educated lay public, legislators, educational groups, and practitioners. The series reports on research findings of national interest.