The University of Arizona

History, Pharmacology, and Prevalence
Cocaine Overview:

Data on trends in cocaine problems seem contradictory.  For example, based on SAMHSA's Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS), admission rates for primary cocaine treatment decreased nationally by 24% between 1992 and 2002, from 133 admissions to 101 admissions per 100,000 persons aged 12 or older.  But according to the data from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), cocaine-related emergency department visits increased between 1995 and 2002 by 33%, from 58 to 78 mentions per 100,000 population.[1]

Regardless of the trends, substantial numbers of people continue to use cocaine.  For example, in 2002 and 2003, more than 2.1 million persons used cocaine in the past month.[2]  And more than 1.5 million persons aged 12 or older met the criteria for abuse of or dependence on cocaine in 2002 and 2003.

Regarding age group in 2002, young adults aged 18 to 25 had higher past year cocaine use as well as a higher rate of current cocaine use than any other age group in 2002.[1,2]  In general, men have a higher rate of current cocaine use than women.  Among racial/ethnic groups, the highest rate of current cocaine use was 2% for Native Americans/Alaskan Natives and the lowest use was 0.2% for Asians.[1]

For the third and fourth quarters of 2003, DAWN reported that cocaine was involved in 20% of all drug-related emergency department visits.[3]  See graphs 1, 2, and 3 for additional information on the use of crack and other forms of cocaine in 2002 and 2003.

Cocaine-Related Hospital Admissions in Arizona

Cocaine-related hospital admissions in Arizona increased during 2001-2006 (Graph 4).  Pima County experienced a particularly sharp rise in such admissions (Graph 6).  Maricopa County and the Rural Counties had less pronounced increases in cocaine-related admissions (Graphs 5 and 7).[4]



  • (1) NIDA. Cocaine: Abuse and Addiction. Rockville, MD; 2004 Nov. Report No.: 99-4342.
  • (2) SAMHSA. Cocaine Use: 2002 and 2003. Research Triangle Park, NC; 2005 Aug 12.
  • (3) NIDA. Hospital Visits. Rockville, MD; 2005 Apr.
  • (4) Cunningham JK. Methamphetamine, Cocaine, and Heroin/Opioid Hospital Admissions in Arizona: Trends and Regional Variations (1990-2006). Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona; 2007.


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    Graph 1
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    Graph 2
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    Graph 3
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    Graph 4
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    Graph 5
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    Graph 6
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    Graph 7