Report: As Economy Slows, So Does Cocaine Use

Sep 26, 2011
Originally published on September 26, 2011 1:06 pm

People make changes during a bad economy. Some change less diapers, while others eat out less often. The New York Post reports that in a cost-councious world even vices suffer:

Cocaine-related emergency-room admissions, overdoses and requests for rehab have declined since the economy started its 2008 decline, according to data obtained by The Post.

"It is sort of on a slight but steady downward trend," said Dr. Stephen Ross, director of NYU's Langone Center of Excellence on Addiction. "I treat patients in private practice. Many cocaine addicts tell me stories they don't have enough money to buy it anymore."

There were 478 "accidental" deaths in which cocaine was a factor, typically overdoses, in New York City in 2006, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

That number plunged to just 274 in 2010.

Earlier this month, The Miami Herald reported that cocaine use was down in Miami. The decline started in 2007, when 281 people suffered cocaine-related deaths. Last year, that number was down to 198. The paper reports:

"It's kind of ironic, given Miami's historic role in the cocaine industry — Miami Vice was part of the culture," said Paul Gootenberg, a State University of New York professor who wrote Andean Cocaine: The Making of a Global Drug. "The main thing to happen with cocaine in the past 10 years is not a dramatic decline in supply, but a globalization of cocaine: It's gone from Miami, Colombia and New York to Argentina, Spain and Britain."


The declines, Gootenberg said, are more likely a result of the market and simple economics. "Florida is going through an enormous economic crisis," he said. "People don't have money to spend on drugs."

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