How Many People Use Cocaine

How Many People Use Cocaine in 2023? (Latest Statistics)

Published on: June 5, 2023
Last Updated: June 5, 2023

How Many People Use Cocaine in 2023? (Latest Statistics)

Published on: June 5, 2023
Last Updated: June 5, 2023

Quick Answer 🔍

How many people use cocaine in 2023?

39.3 million people in the U.S. have used cocaine in their lifetime.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where illegal substances abound resulting in people becoming addicted to them. Cocaine is one of those substances.

What is cocaine and how many people use cocaine? We will attempt to provide accurate and recent information about this topic. 

Since around 1,800 Americans experiment with this drug for the first time each day, this topic needs to be addressed for awareness’s sake.

Let’s discuss how many people use cocaine in 2023 and other relevant data about it. 

How Many People Use Cocaine in 2023?

Statistical data from 2009 to 2020 reveals that an estimated 39.3 million people in the U.S. have used cocaine in their lifetime, which is more than the 36.7 million reported in 2009. 

We can only address the figures that have been reported, so you may have to consider the fact that the figures are higher. 

Cocaine has been reported to result in almost one out of five deaths due to overdose in America.

More than 5 million Americans claimed to currently use cocaine as of 2020. That’s 2% of the whole US population. 

Cocaine-related overdose deaths fluctuated between 2006 and 2019. Here is a breakdown of those figures.

  • 2006 to 2012 – Cocaine-related deaths decreased.
  • 2012 – The beginning of an increase in cocaine-involved overdose deaths. 
  • 2018 to 2019 – An increase of cocaine overdose deaths increased by almost 9%.
  • 2019 – Nearly 16,000 Americans died from a cocaine overdose. 

These numbers are not easy to see, are they?

Where Does Cocaine Come From?


We need to know where this drug comes from as well as how many people use cocaine to better understand the drug and its usage.

The cocaine drug comes from the coca plant which is indigenous to South America. 

There are legitimate uses in medicine for cocaine, such as topical anesthesia and to slow bleeding in mucous membranes in the throat, nose, and mouth. 

Coco is the raw plant material used to make refined cocaine.

The coca plant itself grows in the wild across Central and South America. It’s actually been harvested there for more than 3,500 years. 

The indigenous natives of these regions have known about the stimulant effects of this plant for centuries. 

It’s still used in Bolivia and Peru (and other countries in the region) as a tea to help with altitude sickness and fatigue. At one time, the Incas considered cocoa to be sacred. 

Cocaine addiction is nothing new, if we are to be honest.

If you have ever read about the “Old West” in America, you already know that it was widely used for medical purposes, but also for recreational purposes. 

It’s also believed that much of the violence in the Old West was due to drug use and addiction.

Keep in mind that cocaine wasn’t the only addictive drug used in the 19th century Old West.  

Does Everyone Who Uses Cocaine Become Addicted?

This is another difficult discussion to have, but it can be answered simply. Not everyone becomes addicted from using cocaine, but it’s wise not to take the risk.

The following will address some scientific data about why not everyone gets addicted to cocaine. 

According to the Michigan Psychological Association, only one out of five people become addicted to cocaine.

Why does this happen? According to the data, it’s about how cocaine triggers serotonin in the brain alongside the boost of dopamine generated by the drug. 

The data about this is very comprehensive and tedious to read, but essentially, addiction happens when there is an imbalance in dopamine and serotonin levels where the dopamine overtakes the serotonin that causes addiction.

Therefore, not everyone gets addicted. This data is true across multiple drugs that affect dopamine and serotonin levels. 

Since there’s no way to know how your body will react to drugs that have the potential to alter these levels, it’s unwise to take risks with drug use.

How Is Cocaine Used?


For anyone who has never been exposed to drugs, or has never used drugs like cocaine, there is the question of how it’s used as well as how many people use cocaine.

This part of the article will address how it’s used. 

Firstly, you should know that cocaine is categorized as the third most used illegal (or illicit) drug in the US. It’s number 2 across the rest of the globe.

It’s known to create temporary energy, confidence, and euphoria. It’s no wonder people become addicted to it.

The four primary methods for consuming cocaine are snorting, smoking, injecting, and swallowing.

  • Snorting: This is the most favored method of using cocaine since it gets a fast reaction and results in a major rush in seconds. 
  • Smoking: Smoking cocaine is more complicated and can be done in its purest form, freebased, or in rocks, called crack. The freebasing method causes an almost instant high and an intense euphoria. Crack is not as pure as freebase, so it tends to wear off faster, while causing a harder crash.
  • Injecting: The injection of cocaine is much like using IV heroin. This is one of the most dangerous methods of using cocaine that often comes with serious health risks and can be fatal. Overdosing and fatalities are higher from injecting cocaine.
  • Swallowing: This method of taking cocaine is quite rare because it’s the least effective method for getting the drug into the bloodstream. 


The damage done from cocaine usage isn’t distributed evenly. Younger people are more likely to be impacted by cocaine abuse, especially for recreational use. 

Numbers are decreasing among teens and young adults, which is promising, but still not at zero yet, so the problem is still quite real. 

Cocaine addiction is treatable and can be beaten.

It takes will and desire to stop using as is true for alcohol and other illicit drugs. It’s a hard road to travel, but it can be done with the right support and treatments. 

Even if a person doesn’t succeed in quitting cocaine on their own, it doesn’t make them bad or weak. Cocaine is a very hard habit to break. 

How many people use cocaine in 2023? About 2% of the American population and even more across the globe. 

Do you know someone suffering from a cocaine addiction? If you do, seek help for them and support them through the process. 


Addiction CenterCDCDrug Abuse
Michigan Psychological AssociationStatistaTrue West Magazine

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Written by Thomas McGovern

Thomas McGovern is a highly experienced blockchain and cryptography expert with over a decade of experience in the field. He has worked on numerous projects involving blockchain technology, including the development of decentralized applications and the implementation of secure cryptographic protocols. McGovern’s expertise in this area is complemented by his academic background; he holds a master’s degree in Mathematics, with a focus on cryptography and number theory.