Cocaine deaths have been rising in the United States, amid the nation’s deadliest drug overdose epidemic, US health officials have said in a new report.
After several years of decline, overdose deaths involving cocaine began rising around 2012 and they jumped by more than a third between 2016 and 2017, researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Thursday.
About 14,000 deaths from cocaine were recorded in 2017, according to the report.
The increase at least partly reflects trends in deaths from heroin, fentanyl, and other opioid drugs, the CDC said.
The researchers found that nearly three-quarters of the deaths involving cocaine in 2017 were among people who had also taken opioids.
But deaths involving cocaine alone also increased, said Lawrence Scholl of the CDC, one of the study’s authors.
Ohio was the state with the highest cocaine death rate, but the largest relative increases were seen in Wisconsin and Maryland.
US health officials say about 70,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2017. Nearly 48,000 involved at least one type of opioid.
About 28,000 deaths involved fentanyl or some other kind of synthetic opioid, 15,500 involved heroin, and 14,500 involved prescription opioid painkillers.
The new report goes through 2017, the last year for which complete statistics are available.
Some preliminary data from the CDC suggests that deaths from cocaine continued to rise early in 2018.