Rising Cocaine Overdose Deaths in the US

The opioid epidemic has been drawing the attention of media outlets, but it is not the only drug to be concerned about. While cocaine has long been an abused drug, the buzz surrounding this drug may be overshadowed and appearing to die down, but this is not the case.  As a luxury residential rehab center, we know that unfortunately cocaine abuse isn’t going anywhere any time soon and its effects can be deadly.

The Recent Increase in Cocaine Overdose Deaths

The effects of cocaine on the body are dangerous alone, but more recently people are overdosing on this drug at a higher rate. While the United States has been struggling to deal with the opioid epidemic, cocaine overdose deaths have been rising. In 2018, the number of drug overdose deaths in the United States as a whole decreased for the first time since 1999.1 While this number is thankfully starting to go down because of local, state, and federal efforts, it was accompanied with rising cocaine overdose deaths in more recent years. This rise has also been quite steady as well. From 2012 to 2018, there was an average increase of 30% from year to year.1

While many people have been distracted by opioids alone, cocaine is a growing concern. By 2018, the rising cocaine overdose deaths surpassed those of natural opioids and is close to bypassing heroin overdose deaths.1 While this statistic is alarming enough, opioids may also be part of the problem. Cocaine overdose deaths are highest when an opioid is involved.2 Also in 2016, the number of cocaine overdose deaths involving other synthetic narcotics surpassed the number of overdose deaths from cocaine alone.2 These numbers suggest that people are mixing cocaine with other drugs more frequently than before and the results are fatal.

What to Do About Rising Cocaine Overdose Deaths

The United States has been so focused on combating the opioid crisis that cocaine abuse has been more neglected. While the efforts put forth for the opioid crisis appear to finally be working, there is still a long way to go. In order to prevent a cocaine crisis from occurring, government officials should take action now before the problem grows. Preventative measures and cocaine education should be implemented as well as getting people into a standard or luxury PHP as well as other treatment programs.

At Seaside Palm Beach, we work with patients who struggle with both cocaine and opioid abuse. Both can have serious long-term consequences and should be treated sooner rather than later. If you or someone you care about has a substance abuse disorder, get help before the problems get worse.

By calling 561-677-9374, you can get connected with an admissions specialist and get more details about our programs.



  1. NCHS – Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999–2018
  2. NIH – Overdose Death Rates

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