What is the effect of cocaine availability on the incidence of cocaine toxicity?

Updated: Dec 31, 2020
  • Author: Lynn Barkley Burnett, MD, EdD, JD; Chief Editor: Sage W Wiener, MD  more...
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The Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment notes that while opioid use (the combination of controlled prescription drugs, synthetic opioids, and heroin) remained the principal threat, having reached epidemic levels over the past decade, methamphetamine abuse has remained prevalent and the cocaine threat appears to be rebounding. Cocaine availability and use increased between 2015 and 2016 in the United States, with past-year cocaine initiates and cocaine-involved poisoning deaths reaching levels equal to or greater than those of 2007. [5]

 According to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Cocaine Signature Program, which studies cocaine seized in the US, in 2018 approximately 90% of cocaine samples tested were of Colombian origin, 6% were of Peruvian origin, and 4% were of unknown origin. Of all cocaine bricks tested, 80% contained no adulterants or diluents; the percentage of uncut bricks was the highest since at least the year 2000 and was a marked increase from the 59% rate in 2017. The rest of the bricks analyzed were cut with various diluents, with 17% containing levamisole and/or levamisole mixtures with dexamisole and 3% containing various other substances. [5]

From January 2013 and December 2017, the average retail price per pure gram of cocaine decreased while the average purity increased. The price decreased 28.2%, from $213 to $153, while purity increased 38.6%, from 46.4% to 64.3%. [5]

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