Cocaine Overdoses & Addiction During the Opioid Epidemic

Written by Robert Castan | Edited By Editorial Team

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Cocaine Overdoses During the Opioid Epidemic

Although the focus has been on opioid abuse in the country, there is an issue with cocaine use and overdoses, as well. Deaths from cocaine overdoses may not be making the news daily, but they continue to rise. There has been an increase in deaths associated with overdoses across the board, but some people tend to forget that there are drugs aside from prescriptions and heroin. There hasn’t been a focus on cocaine overdoses like there should be because it’s a drug that people want to keep hidden. But the numbers do not lie. In 1999, 16,849 people in the United States died from an overdose, according to the US Centers for Disease Control. By 2015, more than 52,000 deaths came at the hands of a drug overdose.  These overdoses have been seen across all populations.

A Decline in Cocaine Use

Some experts say that cocaine use has been on the decline in recent years, however many are saying that’s because more types of drugs are now available and the drugs are often mixed with other drugs. So, for example, someone may be thinking they are using cocaine, but it could instead be laced with fentanyl, and when the person unknowingly uses fentanyl, they may overdose. Especially if they haven’t ever used fentanyl before. Using a stimulant and an opioid at the same time is known as a speedball, something that people have used for years. Most of the time, cocaine is the drug of choice in a speedball. Researchers in New Hampshire have found that about 37 percent of urine specimens have fentanyl as well as cocaine in them.

Cocaine is the 2nd most trafficked illegal drug in the world. It’s mind-boggling to think that we are ignoring cocaine addiction and overdoses as international seizures of cocaine continue to increase. Cocaine use is still at an unbelievable rate. In 2006, a National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 35.3 million Americans ages 12 and older reported using cocaine. In that same study, 6.9% of 18-25-year-olds surveyed reported having used cocaine (including crack) within the last year. In 2005, there were over 400,000 emergency department visits involving cocaine. These numbers are staggering and confirm the truth that cocaine addiction is still prevalent.

A graph provided by the National Center for Health Statistics (seen below) does show a slight decline in overdose deaths from 2006 – 2010. However, that same graph shows the increase in fatalities of cocaine since 2010.

Photo Credit: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-scope-cocaine-use-in-united-states


What Can Be Done to Help with Cocaine Addiction?

Just as there is no easy fix to the opioid epidemic, there is no easy fix for the rates of cocaine addiction and overdose occurring now. On the individual level, there are options available. If you or someone you know is using cocaine, there are options available. Drug addiction is complex, and because each person has a different experience with addiction, a person should be evaluated as an individual for the best results in treatment. Once a person has agreed to get help for their cocaine addiction, they should be assessed by an addiction professional to determine if medical intervention is necessary. Then, once a person is medically stable, cocaine rehab is the best option for treatment. There, a person will receive group and individual therapies along with the support necessary to begin their recovery from cocaine addiction.

If you need help for cocaine use, reach out to a counselor today at SpringBoard Recovery. We are here to help.


  • American Society of Anesthesiologists: https://www.asahq.org/madeforthismoment/pain-management/opioid-treatment/opioid-abuse/
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/index.html
  • CNN: https://www.cnn.com/2017/12/04/health/cocaine-opioids-fatal-overdoses-study/index.html
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/cocaine/cocaine-trends-statistics
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/fentanyl.html
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/fentanyl
  • WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/cocaine-use-and-its-effects#1
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/about-the-epidemic/index.html
  • Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323465

  • Author: Robert Castan

    Robert Castan is a member of the Executive Leadership Team at SpringBoard Recovery. Robert started his professional career as a house manager and has become an industry leader and trusted voice in the treatment world. He brings extensive knowledge of organizational growth, industry-leading outcomes, and comprehensive marketing to SpringBoard Recovery. Robert has been walking his own path of recovery for over 10 years. This path has truly driven his ambition to help make treatment available to others who are struggling with addiction. Robert finds great joy in traveling and keeping physically active, with an emphasis on biking. Robert resides in Arizona with his husband and two four-legged children.   The U.S. Alcohol Crisis, Still Deadlier Than the Opioid Epidemic   Zombies and Other Future Threats to the Health of American Youth Dire Mental Health: A Catalyst for Post-Pandemic Drug Addiction The Benefits of Rehab Center Staff Working Their Own Recovery Opinion: The Opioid Crisis + COVID-19 = The Perfect Storm Robert Castan on Successful Addiction Treatment and Entrepreneurship Castan: The road less traveled of addiction & recovery in Scottsdale Opioids & COVID Driving Phoenix’s Rising Fatal Drug Overdoses Opinion: The Opioid Crisis + COVID-19 = The Perfect Storm Successful Addiction Treatment Programs & Entrepreneurship

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