The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that in the past year approximately 5.5 million people in the United States used cocaine, including approximately 750,000 users of crack cocaine. This same study found that “3.5 million adults aged 26 or older used cocaine in the past year, including 666,000 who used crack.” The percentage of adults in this age group in 2018 who used cocaine in the past year was higher than the percentages in most years from 2011 to 2015, but it was similar to the percentages in 2016 and 2017. The estimate of past year crack use in 2018 among adults aged 26 or older was lower than estimates in 2002 to 2008, but it was similar to the estimates in 2009 to 2017.”
This same study found that about 977,000 people aged 12 or older in 2018 met clinical criteria for a diagnosis of Cocaine Use Disorder in the past year, equating to approximately 0.4 percent of the population of the United States. The study also determined that this percentage of people was relatively consistent with percentages found in studies from 2009 to 2017, but lower than the percentages from 2002 to 2008.
How to tell if you or a loved one is using cocaine problematically?
The following criteria come from the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) released by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013:
- Cocaine is taken in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than was intended.
- A persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control cocaine use.
- A great deal of time is spent in activities, necessary to obtain alcohol, use cocaine, or recover from its effects.
- Craving or a strong desire or urge to use cocaine.
- Recurrent cocaine use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school or home.
- Continued cocaine use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of alcohol.
- Recurrent cocaine use in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
- Cocaine use is continued despite knowledge of having persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problems likely to have been caused or exacerbated by cocaine.
- Physical or psychological issues that are likely to have been caused or exacerbated by cocaine use.
- High tolerance for cocaine use.
- Withdrawal symptoms experienced without using cocaine.
If you or a loved one’s cocaine use meet at least two of these criteria in the past 12 months, then you may be suffering from a substance use disorder requiring treatment.