Report shows cocaine use among young adults up in 16 states

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A report published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates the prevalence of past year cocaine use by young adults aged 18-25 in the United States has remained unchanged in 34 states and the District of Columbia in 2014-2015, while 16 states saw increases. According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the estimated prevalence of past year cocaine use by adults aged 18-25 was 4.9 percent.

This equates to about 1 out of every 20 young adults across the nation using cocaine in the past year. At the state level, past year cocaine use varied from 1.8 percent in Mississippi to 10.5 percent in New Hampshire.

The data in the report show that as states continue efforts to reduce illegal drug use, some are faced with what may be a reemerging public health concern. Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant that poses significant health risks for those who ingest it. It is known to cause fatal heart attacks and strokes.

“These increases signal the need for states and communities to continue working together, educating and training others on the dangers of cocaine use,” stated Frances M. Harding, Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. “Pursuing a comprehensive prevention strategy has proven to be our most effective approach to address substance use issues.”

SAMHSA provides resources for people with substance use issues, including issues related to cocaine use. For information on substance use and mental health treatment facilities and programs across the country, visit https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov. SAMHSA also has a free and confidential information service, in English and Spanish, that is always available at 1-800-662-4357.

SAMHSA manages several grant programs intended to reduce substance use among youth. Among them is the Partnerships for Success grant program, which provides funding to states and jurisdictions to address substance abuse prevention priorities among youth and young adults, which can include cocaine. SAMHSA also manages the Drug Free Communities Support Program, funded through the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which supports coalitions and their efforts to employ a variety of evidence-based strategies to reduce drug use among youth.

This report, called State Estimates of Past Year Cocaine Use among Young Adults: 2014 and 2015is available at: https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_2736/ShortReport-2736.html.

In addition to this report SAMHSA today is issuing its state-by-state report which provides prevalence data tables on a set of behavioral health issues for each state and the District of Columbia. This report is available at: https://www.datafiles.samhsa.gov/article/news/2014-2015-nsduh-state-estimates-substance-use-and-mental-disorders-nid16958

For more information, contact the SAMHSA Press Office at 240-276-2130.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.

Last Updated: 12/20/2016