Addiction Treatment Programs
Safe, Effective, Customized Care
Get the Help You Need
We have beds available!
Call for same-day admission
Editorial Policy | Research Policy
Since 2012, Colorado has been at the center of national drug policy reform after approving a bill legalizing marijuana. A bill introduced in 2019 transforms drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor if the amount is fewer than four grams of illicit drugs (including cocaine). However, upon closer inspection, some alarming trends are also emerging — some of which began taking shape in the early 2000s.
Recent data show that Colorado ranks #7 in the nation for states with the worst drug problems, based upon factors like overdose rates and drug arrests. Even more discouraging is that drug-related deaths are consistently on the rise. Cocaine is one substance that has contributed to drug-related problems in the state. Understanding the latest facts about cocaine use and cocaine statistics in Colorado provides a more thorough view into what’s happening in the state and across the country.
How does Colorado’s cocaine use compare with cocaine use in America? In 2019, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) conducted a survey that provided information on cocaine use statistics across the country. Results revealed that between 2002 and 2019, cocaine use within the past year in people aged 12 and older decreased from 2.5% to 2.0%.
Results showed that around 5.5 million people in the United States used cocaine at some point during the previous year, as of 2019. State-level data from the survey revealed that past-year cocaine use in Colorado was slightly higher than the national average of 2.0%, with 2.66% of people aged 12 or older in Colorado reporting they used cocaine within the previous year. The rate of cocaine use was especially high among those aged 18–25, with 7.48% of those in this age group using cocaine within the past year.
Compared to the nation and other states, Colorado’s drug use, in general, is relatively high. SAMHSA data show that 19.32% of those in Colorado use illegal drugs within a given year, compared to 13.24% across the entire United States.
Colorado’s location may be partly responsible for its high cocaine use. Easy access to eight different interstates and a central location make it an ideal spot for drug dealers crossing the borders to the north or south of the United States.
Gangs and organized crime groups also have several methods for distributing cocaine and other drugs in urban and suburban areas. Because of the state’s proximity to drug-production sites in California and Arizona, traffickers are easily able to transport illicit substances into Colorado via vehicles, package-delivery services and even aircraft.
In Colorado and across the country, cocaine use seems to peak during young adulthood and level off during the later adult years. In general, more men typically use cocaine than women in all states, according to a 2018 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.
Cocaine statistics show that the prevalence of cocaine use among adults in Colorado varies depending upon their age. Once people reach the age of 26 and older, cocaine use tends to drop. The most recent Colorado data show that 2.18% of those aged 26 and above use cocaine within a given year.
How many teens use cocaine? Overall, teenage cocaine use is relatively low in Colorado. Among those aged 12–17, 0.38% had used cocaine within the past year, as of 2020. Cocaine use for young adults in Colorado jumps significantly when compared to the teenage years, as 7.48% of those aged 18 to 25 report using cocaine within the previous year.
These statistics are consistent with those across the United States. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2018 report suggested that around 1.9% of people aged 12 and up used cocaine in the past year across the nation. The same report noted that 5.6% of young adults aged 18 to 25 used cocaine nationwide.
There may not be statistics to demonstrate how Colorado’s seniors are faring, but nationwide, there’s a growing trend of cocaine use in older patients. In addition, SAMHSA noted in a 2017 report that around 4,300 older adults reported using the substance on an average day in the previous month.
Drug overdoses as a whole have been on the rise in Colorado and around the nation. This may be closely connected to the opioid crisis in the United States. To illustrate the bigger-picture trends, consider the following statistics on fatal drug overdoses in Colorado:
The number of annual cocaine overdoses has grown sharply in recent years. According to information from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in the United States, there were around 5,419 cocaine overdose deaths in 2014. The number of cocaine-related deaths climbed to 19,447 as of 2020.
Researchers hypothesize that the rise in the number of people using cocaine and opioids together plays a role in the dramatic increase in cocaine overdose statistics. This hypothesis is supported by NIDA research, which shows that the majority of cocaine overdose deaths involve a synthetic opioid.
Cocaine overdose deaths and drug overdose deaths, in general, are higher in several Colorado counties than in others around the state. The following counties each have more than 20 overdose deaths for every 100,000 residents:
Although there aren’t any cocaine crime statistics available for Colorado, crimes related to cocaine use are typically much the same as in other states. A 2004 survey showed that around 17% of prisoners commit crimes to obtain money to buy drugs. This includes stealing cars and robbing homes or people. Furthermore, driving under the influence of cocaine or other stimulants accounted for 31% of U.S. drug enforcement evaluations in 2017.
Colorado has one of the highest percentages of adults with unmet treatment needs. Statistics gathered in 2018 estimate that around 85% of people addicted to cocaine and other drugs aren’t getting the help they need. Statistics also suggest that around 25% of people who start using cocaine recreationally will become addicted. Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that has powerful physical effects and alters brain chemistry.
Cocaine addiction recovery rates are hard to estimate. A 2008 study estimated that up to 78% of people who try to quit on their own have a relapse. NIDA estimates that seeking professional treatment can improve recovery rates by up to 50%.
Cocaine use is dangerous. Even trying it once can lead to addiction. If you’re struggling with cocaine addiction or use of any substance, reach out to The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake. Representatives are on hand to help guide you to a treatment plan that can meet your needs. Call us today to start your journey to recovery.
Did you know that Colorado is the only state in the country that has a problem with all four of the so-called major intoxicants? Alcohol, cocaine, opioids and marijuana all feature prominently in the state’s drug trends. Consider the following information on Colorado’s drug trends:
National Drug Intelligence Center. “Colorado Drug Threat Assessment.” U.S. Department of Justice, May 2003. Accessed January 23, 2022.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “2018 Annual Surveillance Report of Drug-[…]d Risks and Outcomes.” CDC, August 31, 2018. Accessed January 23, 2022.
Yarnell, Stephanie C. “Cocaine Abuse in Later Life: A Case Seri[…]ew of the Literature.” The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders, April 9, 2015. Accessed January 23, 2022.
Mattson, M., et al. “A Day in the Life of Older Adults: Substance Use Facts.” The CBHSQ Report from SAMHSA, May 2017. Accessed January 23, 2022.
McCall Jones, Christopher; Baldwin, Grant T.; and Compton, Wilson M. “Recent Increases in Cocaine-Related Over[…] the Role of Opioids.” American Journal of Public Health, March 2017. Accessed January 23, 2022.
Ingalls, Jalyn. “More than 1,000 Coloradoans Lost to Drug Overdoses in 2017.” Colorado Health Institute, August 29, 2018. Accessed January 23, 2022.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Overdose Death Rates.” January 20, 2022. Accessed January 23, 2022.
Mumola, Christopher J. and Karberg, Jennifer C. “Drug Use and Dependence, State and
Federal Prisoners, 2004.” U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, October 2006. Accessed January 23, 2022.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Presence of Drugs in Drivers.” Accessed January 23, 2022.
Colorado Health Institute. “An Unmet Challenge.” April 30, 2018. Accessed January 23, 2022.
Matteucci, Richard. “21 Shocking Colorado Drug Abuse Facts.” USA Mobile Drug Testing of Denver, August 3, 2018. Accessed January 23, 2022.
O’Malley, Gerald F. and O’Malley, Rika. “Cocaine.” Merck Manual Professional Version, May 2020. Accessed January 23, 2022.
Hser, Yih-Ing, et al. “Comparing the dynamic course of heroin, […]ne use over 10 years.” Addictive Behaviors, December 2008. Accessed January 23, 2022.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Study Ranks Recovery Assets in Cocaine Addiction.” July 14, 2015. Accessed January 23, 2022.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Synthetic Opioid Overdose Data.” March 25, 2021. Accessed January 23, 2022.
Colorado Health Institute. “Drug Overdoses Deaths in Colorado Increase.” April 2, 2018. Accessed January 23, 2022.
Colorado General Assembly. “HB19-1263.” Accessed January 23, 2022.
Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health. “Drug Use by State: 2020’s Problem Area[…]– WalletHub Study.” Accessed January 23, 2022.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Key Substance Use and Mental Health I[…]Drug Use and Health.” September 2020. Accessed January 23, 2022.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “2019-2020 National Survey on Drug Use an[…]revalence Estimates.” 2020. Accessed January 23, 2022.
Rodgers, Jakob. “Drug overdose deaths across Colorado dro[…] first time in years.” The Gazette, June 10, 2019. Accessed January 23, 2022.
Colorado Health Institute. “Colorado County Drug Overdose Death Rate.” September 20, 2016. Accessed January 23, 2022.
Substance Abuse Trend and Response Task Force. “Annual Report.” January 2020. Accessed January 23, 2022.
Colorado Department of Human Services. “Opioid Crisis in Colorado: The Office of[…]search and Resources.” Accessed January 23, 2022.
Ballotpedia. “Colorado Marijuana Legalization Initiati[…] Amendment 64 (2012).” Accessed January 23, 2022.
The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.
We can help answer your questions and talk through any concerns.