Cocaine addiction in the United States is a public health epidemic that destroys individuals and families. From legal and financial troubles to damaging physical effects, millions of people have struggled with the consequences of abuse to this dangerous and highly addictive drug.
According to the most recent cocaine addiction statistics available, more than 35.3 million Americans aged 12 and older have reported using cocaine regularly, and some 8.6 million of them have also used crack cocaine, the “freebase” form of the drug that is smoked. Among high school students, nearly 10 percent have tried cocaine at some point in their lives, and the national drug abuse warning network utilized by emergency rooms reports that cocaine continues to be the most frequently reported illegal drug leading to ER visits-to date—nearly 500,000 per year.
When it comes to crack cocaine and addiction rates it’s estimated that nearly nine million people use the drug on a regular basis, and those that do cross all age, gender, race and socioeconomic lines. Public health experts and drug abuse professionals also report that the use of crack cocaine, which declined in the late 1990s, may be on the rise again, as crack is an often less expensive alternative to powder cocaine.
When our government declared a “war on drugs” in the early 1980s cocaine was placed at the top of list of most trafficked illegal drugs in the world. And today it remains in the number two position, with some 800 metric tons in circulation between North and South America every year. Additionally, there are more than 7,000 cocaine-related deaths each year in the United States alone.