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Cocaine Overdose Deaths Nearly Tripled in US Between 2013 and 2018

October 08, 2020

Cocaine overdose deaths in the United States nearly tripled between 2013 and 2018, according to data published this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, there were 14,666 cocaine-involved deaths in the U.S. in 2018, or 4.5 per 100,000 standard population. For comparison, the rate of cocaine-involved deaths in 2013 was 1.6 in 100,000. From 2014 to 2018, the increase in drug overdose deaths involving cocaine with opioids outpaced cocaine deaths without opioids. Age groups that saw the most significant spikes in cocaine-involved deaths from 2013 to 2018 were 25-34, 35-44 and 55-64; the groups averaged a 30% increase per year over the time period. For 2009 to 2018, the full period studied, rates of cocaine-involved overdose deaths for males were 2.4 to 3 times higher than that of females.

Other findings on 2018:

  • The 35-44 age group had the highest rate of cocaine overdose deaths—8.6 per 100,000. The over-65 population had the lowest rate (1.1 per 100,000).
  • Drug overdose deaths involving cocaine among non-Hispanic Black individuals (9.0 per 100,000) nearly doubled those of non-Hispanic white individuals (4.6) and tripled the Hispanic population (3.0).
  • Cocaine-involved deaths were higher in urban than rural counties for all census regions. Among urban counties, rates were highest in the Northeast (8.5 per 100,000) and lowest in the West (1.6). Similarly for rural counties, the highest rates were again found in the Northeast (5.4) and lowest in the West (1.0).
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