Substance abuse in the United States has always been a severe issue. Drugs produced in other countries pour into the US and wreak havoc in our cities. Cocaine and crack cocaine has had a profound impact on many lives within all types of communities. Trends in use have fluctuated over the years and is currently increasing.
Next to Marijuana, cocaine holds the place of the second most popular illegal drug in the United States. The highest percentages of cocaine use come from young adults between the ages of 18 and 25. A 2015 study done by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) revealed that 1.9 million people over the age of 12 years old have used cocaine or crack cocaine. The difference between cocaine and crack cocaine lies within how the drug is prepared and administered. Crack cocaine is generally smoked. Rates of cocaine and crack cocaine use have declined overall. But, due to a boom in Columbia’s coca production, cocaine use is once again on an incline. Cocaine is not only number 2 in popularity, it is also the second most deadly illicit drug used, behind heroin. A surge of Fentanyl-laced cocaine had lead to a significant increase in the amount of overdose deaths involving cocaine and opioids.
Some places have had to deal with this problem more in-depth than others. These cities see some of the highest rates of cocaine and crack cocaine use, with and without the involvement of opioids.
Although you can find this problem anywhere you go, the northeast region of the U.S sees rate of drug abuse higher than any other region in the country. Only blocks away from our nation’s capital lies the ugly reality of one of the deadliest problems our society faces; Substance Abuse. For years, Washington, D.C has had the highest percentages of Cocaine and Crack Cocaine use. A 2015 study found that approximately 5.22% of Washington, D.C citizens use Cocaine. This rate is higher than anywhere else in the country.
Within the last three years, there has been a 420 percent increase in deaths involving cocaine in Connecticut. The Drug Enforcement Agency, and local police have been working tirelessly to try to sweep crack off the streets by intercepting it before it spreads into the city. Earlier this year, the police busted up a cocaine operation where the drug dealers were trafficking cocaine from Puerto Rico to Hartford, Connecticut through the United States Postal Service. The police, working with the postal service, seized more than 400 grams of Cocaine. Unfortunately, even with busts like this happening every month, crack cocaine still stains the city and its residents.
New York City is the most populated city in the United States and it is a major hub for opportunity, both good and bad. Unfortunately, New York City is a hotspot for cocaine use. In 2017, the New York Health Department released a statement to warn cocaine users about Fentanyl-laced cocaine becoming more prevalent. In 2015, about 11% of overdose death involved cocaine and fentanyl, without heroin. By 2016, this percentage rose to 37% of overdose deaths.
Rhode Island is the smallest state in the union with a large drug problem. A study done by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found, through admission, that 7.5 % of citizens use cocaine. A multi-state cocaine bust occurred this year mainly involving states in the Northeast, Rhode Island being one of them. With help for the United States Postal service, The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) was able to seize over 60,000 grams of cocaine before it was distributed. The cocaine was being shipped in the mail from Puerto Rico, to various hubs located all over the United States.
New Orleans is well-known for its rich history, delicious and spicy cuisine, and its famously vibrant street parties. This part of the city is a hit with tourists. But not far from all of the festivities is a disease that plagues the city. New Orleans already had an issue with the use of crack cocaine in the past, but in 2005, Hurricane Katrina made matters much worse. Stress and depression helped lead some citizens to seek out crack cocaine in hopes to feel just a slither of comfort in the midst of turmoil. Since then, the use of crack cocaine has gone up as with the rest of the country. An increase of crack use contributes to an increase in violence and crime, which just feeds the vicious cycle of Substance abuse and crime.
Miami is a popular vacation spot, know for its beaches and nightlife. Tourism contributes greatly to cocaine trends within the city. In 2016, Miami saw about 36 deaths per month due to drugs, particularly cocaine. This made a disturbing total of almost 500 deaths for the year, in just Miami. From 2015 to 2016, the number of drug deaths rose 22 percent, with cocaine causing more deaths than any other drug in the whole state of Florida. This surge in cocaine-related deaths is a result of contaminated product. There has been a spike of cocaine laced with fentanyl and fentanyl-related products such as carfentanil. This is especially dangerous for people that only occasionally use cocaine and/or do not use fentanyl or heroin because they have not built up any tolerance for the new drug. The risk of cocaine overdose has increased greatly because of this combination of illicit drugs being given to unknown people.
The substance abuse problem in this country has been out of hand for a while, and it has not gone unnoticed. Drugs are becoming more prevalent and more powerful, which is a hazardous combination. Precautions are being taken all over the nation, yet the problem is still alive and well.
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