Crack Cocaine Trends

Although some indicators increased slightly in a number of Community Epidemiology Work Group (CEWG),  areas during the last reporting period, most crack cocaine trend indicators during this reporting period declined or were stable.

Cocaine deaths  were relatively stable, except in Detroit, where they decreased substantially, and Phoenix, where 1999 deaths outnumbered cumulative deaths for 1993-1998. After increasing in many sites during the last 6-month period, cocaine emergency department (ED) mentions decreased significantly in seven cities (Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC). Nonsignificant ED decreases were reported in the majority of other cities; only two significant increases were noted (in St. Louis and Baltimore).

Cocaine is the primary drug of choice for addiction treatment admissions in six CEWG sites, excluding Baltimore where heroin addiction and cocaine addiction admissions are evenly distributed. Cocaine addiction treatment and ED admissions tend to involve relatively older people, and the 35-and-older cohort seems to be increasing in many sites. Mixed trends were found in cocaine-positive urinalysis percentages among adult male arrestees, with increases at two sites (Dallas and Washington, DC), declines at three (Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia), and stable trends at the rest; crack/cocaine are now surpassed by marijuana in all but six cities.

By contrast, among female arrestees, cocaine is still the most commonly detected drug in all but one city (San Diego); levels increased in four cities (Chicago, Dallas, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Phoenix) and declined in Los Angeles and Seattle. Speedball (crack combined with heroin) injections continue to be reported in some cities, including Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Miami, New York City, St. Louis, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC. High purity and greater availability of cocaine hydrochloride (HCl) may be driving the increase in HCl indicators in some sites, including Denver, Miami (among youth), Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Newark, and the decrease in crack addiction indicators in some cities, such as Boston, Denver, Miami (possibly among youth), and Newark.

Data released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse