1997 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse:  Preliminary Results

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4. COCAINE USE

oIn 1997, an estimated 1.5 million Americans were current cocaine users. This represents 0.7 percent of the population age 12 and older.

oThe number of cocaine users declined from 5.7 million in 1985 (3.0 percent of the population) to 1.4 million (0.7 percent of the population) in 1992, and has not changed significantly since then (Figure 9).

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oThere were an estimated 682,000 (0.3 percent of the population) frequent cocaine users in 1997. Frequent use, defined as use on 51 or more days during the past year, was not different than in 1996, when there were an estimated 608,000 frequent cocaine users. Since this measure of frequent cocaine use was first estimated in 1985, no increases or decreases have been detected. It should be noted that these estimates are subject to large sampling error and potentially significant underreporting, but the trends are believed to be more reliable.

oThe estimated number of occasional cocaine users (people who used in the past year but on fewer than 12 days) was 2.6 million in 1997, similar to what it had been in 1996 (2.6 million). The number of users has decreased from 1985 when it was 7.1 million.

oThe estimated number of current crack users was about 604,000 in 1997, and there have been no changes since 1988.

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Age

oThe highest rate of current cocaine use in 1997 was for those age 18-25 (1.2 percent). Rates were 1.0 percent for youth age 12-17, 0.9 percent for young adults age 26-34, and 0.5 percent for adults 35 years and older. Rates declined between 1996 and 1997 for ages 18-25 and 26-34, while rates remained stable for other age groups.

Race/Ethnicity

oRates of current cocaine use were 1.4 percent for blacks, 0.8 percent for Hispanics, and 0.6 percent for whites in 1997. There were no changes in rates for any racial/ethnic group between 1996 and 1997.

Gender

oMen continued to have a higher rate of current cocaine use than women (0.9 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively, in 1997). These rates were similar to rates in 1996.

Region/Urbanicity

oIn 1997 the rate of current cocaine use was 0.9 percent in the West region, 0.6 in the Northeast region, 0.7 percent in the South region, and 0.6 percent in the North Central.

oNonmetropolitan areas, large metropolitan and small metropolitan areas had similar rates for current cocaine use (0.7 percent) in 1997.

Education

oCurrent cocaine use rates remained somewhat related to educational status. Among adults age 18 and older in 1997, those who had not completed high school had a current use rate of 0.8 percent. The rate was 0.7 percent among those with just a high school education, 0.8 percent among those with some college, and 0.4 percent among college graduates.

Employment

oThe rate of current cocaine use was highest among the unemployed, as 2.4 percent of unemployed adults (age 18 and older) were current cocaine users in 1997, compared with only 0.7 percent of full-time employed adults and 0.9 percent of part-time employed adults. However, 69 percent of all adult current cocaine users in 1997 were employed either full or part time.

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This page was last updated on February 05, 2009.