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Cocaine Facts

  • In Texas, 200-300 cocaine overdose deaths are reported each year
  • Chronic cocaine snorting often causes stuffiness, runny nose, eczema around the nostrils, and a perforated nasal septum.
  • Cocaine is one of the oldest known drugs. The pure chemical, cocaine hydrochloride, has been an abused substance for more than 100 years.
  • To experience the effects of cocaine more quickly, and to heighten their intensity, users sometimes inject it.

Cocaine Facts

  • Chances are pretty good that cocaine can be found in your purse or wallet. Cocaine hydrochloride is very stable. It binds closely to the ink in in paper currency. (photo above) FBI chemists have discovered that traces of cocaine can be found on almost every dollar bill in the United States. Hence most Americans handle cocaine every day of their lives.
  • Cocaine is a $35 billion illicit industry now exceeding Columbia's #1 export, coffee.
  • Up to 75% of people who try cocaine will become addicted to it. Only one out of four people who try to quit will be able to without help.
  • Each day 5,000 more people will experiment with cocaine.
  • 1 in 10 workers say they know someone who uses cocaine on the job.
  • Texas is a distribution and transshipment area for cocaine that is transported (via passenger vehicles & tractor-trailers) to destinations throughout the United States. Illicit transporters favor the exploitation of the commercial trucking industry to move bulk (multi-hundred kilogram) quantities of cocaine. Smaller loads are routinely seized from privately owned vehicles or from couriers utilizing public transportation.
  • There are basically two chemical forms of cocaine: the hydrochloride salt and "freebase."
  • Cocaine is classified as a Schedule 2 Controlled Substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act and is illegal in most circumstances.
  • The negative side effects of habitual cocaine use that was responsible for coining the phrase, "dope fiend".
  • In 1994, cocaine-related episodes comprised 28% of all emergency room drug-related episodes.
  • Street names: blow, 'caine, coke, cola, freeze, snow (powder), base, rock (crack), blizzard, sleet, white lady, nose candy, soda, snow cone, blanco, cubes.
  • In Texas, 200-300 cocaine overdose deaths are reported each year.
  • The number of Americans that use cocaine weekly has remained steady at around a half million since 1983 according to the 1993 Household Drug Survey; 582,000 (0.3% of the population) were frequent cocaine users in 1995 (frequent meaning use on 51 or more days during the past year.
  • Cocaine raises body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. Even one use causes heart palpitations or cardiac arrest.
  • Cocaine is psychologically addictive and research indicates possible physical addiction.
  • Young single people are the most frequent users of cocaine, with male users outnumbering female users two to one.
  • Adults 18 to 25 years old have a higher rate of current cocaine use than those in any other age group.
  • Cocaine is a drug extracted from the leaves of the coca plant (Erythroxlon coca) which grows in South America.
  • Cocaine users will lose interest in their family, sex, jobs, just about everything, except using more cocaine.

What is the scope of cocaine use in the United States?

Trends in 30-day prevalence of cocaine abuse
among students, 1991-1998

In 1997, an estimated 1.5 million Americans (0.7 percent of those age 12 and older) were current cocaine users, according to the 1997 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA). This number has not changed significantly since 1992, although it is a dramatic decrease from the 1985 peak of 5.7 million cocaine users(3 percent of the population). Based upon additional data sources that take into account users underrepresented in the NHSDA, the Office of National Drug Control Policy estimates the number of chronic cocaine users at 3.6 million.

Adults 18 to 25 years old have a higher rate of current cocaine use than those in any other age group. Overall, men have a higher rate of current cocaine use than do women. Also, according to the 1997 NHSDA, rates of current cocaine use were 1.4 percent for African Americans, 0.8 percent for Hispanics, and 0.6 percent for Caucasians.

Crack cocaine remains a serious problem in the United States. The NHSDA estimated the number of current crack users to be about 604,000 in 1997, which does not reflect any significant change since 1988.

The 1998 Monitoring the Future Survey, which annually surveys teen attitudes and recent drug use, reports that lifetime and past-year use of crack increased among eighth graders to its highest levels since 1991, the first year data were available for this grade. The percentage of eighth graders reporting crack use at least once in their lives increased from 2.7 percent in 1997 to 3.2 percent in 1998. Past-year use of crack also rose slightly among this group, although no changes were found for other grades.

Data from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) showed that cocaine-related emergency room visits, after increasing 78 percent between 1990 and 1994, remained level between 1994 and 1996, with 152,433 cocaine-related episodes reported in 1996.

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