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Statistics and Trends of Teen Cocaine Use

Teen girl snorting a line of cocaine through a rolled bill.  

Apart from alcohol and tobacco, the most common drugs used by teens include marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids, and prescription drugs. The use of illicit drugs like cocaine and heroin are less common, but these substances are becoming a growing concern. Potent drugs like cocaine are highly addictive, causing people who use it craving more and more. The lives of many teens have been ruined by destructive substances such as cocaine.

Cocaine use typically begins in early adulthood and declines later on. There are several possible reasons for this, including the availability and affordability of the drug. Compared to alcohol, tobacco and marijuana, the higher cost and limited availability of cocaine make it more difficult for teens to acquire.

Statistics on Cocaine Use in Teens

There have been some noticeable changes in teen cocaine use from the 1970s to today. A Monitoring the Future survey showed that cocaine use among 12th graders originally skyrocketed in the late 1970s and remained fairly level throughout the first half of the 1980s. An abrupt decline occurred after 1986, with a 75% drop between 1986 and 1992. Between 1992 and 1999, however, cocaine use among 12th graders increased before declining again in 2000.

Among 8th graders and 10th graders, there was a rise in cocaine use after 1992 before hitting peak levels in 1998 and 1999. Over the last 18 years, use has declined in all age groups. In 2017, however, there was a noted increase in use among 12th graders. Cocaine use in this group stands at 2.3% in 2018, and use by 8th and 10th graders is 0.8% and 1.5% respectively.

According to a 2018 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 136,000 (0.5%) of people between the ages of 12 and 17 reported using cocaine in 2016. Around 5.6% of people aged 18 to 25 reported using cocaine, and 3.8% of people aged 26 to 34 reported cocaine use.

Of the 1.9% of people aged 12 and older who reported cocaine use, 0.4% of them reported beginning use that year and 0.3% reported a cocaine use disorder.

Cocaine statistics have demonstrated that the use of cocaine among teens is still prevalent. In 2018, this trend was holding steady — especially in 12th graders.

Cocaine Use in Youth by Gender

While cocaine and other substances are used by both genders, men are typically more prone to using illicit drugs than women. The CDC’s 2018 report showed that cocaine use was higher in men aged 12 and over (2.5%) than women aged 12 and over (1.3%) in 2016.

In adolescents aged 12 to 17, 70,000 males and 66,000 females reported cocaine use in 2016. In the following year, however, there was a switch. In 2017, 66,000 females used cocaine compared to 61,000 males.

Teen Cocaine Addiction Statistics

Many statistics have suggested that the first use of cocaine often occurs somewhere between the ages of 12 and 17. When cocaine is used in these highly developmental years, teen addiction becomes more likely, which can ultimately impact maturation and emotional growth.

The CDC reported that in 2016, 29,000 (0.1%) of people between 12 and 17 reported cocaine misuse or addiction. Statistics from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that approximately 29,000 Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 met the criteria for cocaine dependence or misuse in 2016. This decreased to 19,000 in 2017.

Teenage Cocaine Overdose Statistics

Cocaine-related overdoses and deaths have been on the rise. Cocaine overdose occurs when a person uses a large enough amount of the drug to induce serious adverse effects, life-threatening symptoms or even death. Using cocaine that has been cut with other additives or using the drug while drinking greatly increases the possibility of overdose and death. Death from cocaine overdose can occur on the first use or with further use.

According to the CDC’s 2018 report, age-adjusted overdose death rates were 3.2% overall in 2016. Age-adjusted overdose death rates in people aged 15 to 19 were reported at 0.4% in 2016. Additionally, the age-adjusted rates of cocaine-related hospitalizations were 1.6% in people between the ages of 15 and 19 and 0.2% in people under 15.

Teenage Cocaine Addiction Recovery Statistics

Cocaine addiction recovery statistics were reported by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2017. The survey found that cocaine treatment was reported in 16,000 people aged 12 to 17 in 2016. These numbers decreased to 7,000 in 2017. In people aged 18 to 25, the number of people who received cocaine treatment was 51,000 in 2016 and 93,000 in 2017.

There is a variety of teen cocaine addiction rehab options available today. The suitable choice of treatment is ultimately determined by the unique needs of the patient. Evidence-based treatments include inpatient and outpatient centers, support groups and counseling and therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has also been successful in the treatment of cocaine addiction and can help teens avoid relapse after treatment.

If your teen is struggling with cocaine misuse or addiction, Next Generation Village can help. Contact us today to learn more about treatment options that can work well for your child’s situation.

Medical Disclaimer: Next Generation Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.


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