Cocaine use is on the rise in Colorado, new federal data shows

Teens and adults in Colorado are using cocaine almost more than anywhere else in the nation, new report finds.

A snowy Denver skyline; (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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A snowy Denver skyline. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Teens and adults in Colorado are using cocaine almost more than anywhere else in the nation, according to new estimates from the federal government.

Cocaine use is going up nationally, but only people in Washington, D.C., and New Hampshire use it more than Coloradans, according to the 2014-2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health released Tuesday.

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

Cocaine use by Coloradans 12 and older went from 2.57 percent in 2013-2014 to 2.75 percent in 2013-2014, according to data from The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Use of the addictive, dangerous drug is especially prominent among young adults. The survey found 8.62 percent of Coloradans 18 to 25 used cocaine in the past year — up 1.37 percentage points from the 2013-2014 survey.

Marijuana use, alcohol use, heroin use and serious mental illnesses were all up for this age group in Colorado survey over survey.

Interestingly, cocaine use by 12 to 17-year-olds also went up slightly in Colorado, while marijuana use fell. That was also true on the national level.

“I don’t have an explanation. This is somewhat surprising,” said NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow told U.S. News and World Report. “We had predicted based on the changes in legalization, culture in the U.S. as well as decreasing perceptions among teenagers that marijuana was harmful that [accessibility and use] would go up. But it hasn’t gone up.”

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.

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Adrian D. Garcia

Author: Adrian D. Garcia

Adrian D. Garcia is on business and trends for Denverite, serves as treasurer for the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and on the board of the Denver Press Club. He can be reached at agarcia@denverite.com.