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Cocaine Abuse Statistics and Trends in South Florida

Written by Jonathan Strum

& Medically Reviewed by Eric Patterson, LPC

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Last Updated - 06/17/2022

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Updated 06/17/2022

Though much attention is paid to opioids, other drugs like cocaine are seeing a resurgence in popularity. This has led to increased use and unwanted consequences.

Like other drugs, the popularity of cocaine use changes over time. Throughout the years, cocaine has gone through cycles of increased use followed by decreased use. Its popularity will rise and then fade, but after a while, it becomes popular again.

Studying trends in substance use can offer unique insights into frequently misused drugs and the people who misuse them. Facts and statistics about cocaine use in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Naples, Fort Myers, and other South Florida cities can help reveal the problems and solutions of drug misuse.

Cocaine Use in South Florida Over the Years

After marijuana, cocaine is the most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S. People routinely use this highly addictive drug to experience its stimulating effects, which include:

  • High energy
  • Decreased need for sleep and food
  • Increased focus
  • Euphoric feelings

Increased cocaine use in America is resulting in more cocaine use disorders and overdoses among its people. Many areas in Florida are also seeing a rise in cocaine use. According to cocaine use statistics, Florida rates have been growing since 2014. In one South Florida region, the rate of overdose cases involving cocaine use increased from 240 in 2014 to 421 in 2017. In another, cocaine overdose cases increased from 193 in 2014 to 505 in 2017. Similar trends are noted, across South Florida and multiple areas of the state.

Contributing Factors to Current Trends

The trends of drug use vary depending on many factors. For example, aspects of supply and cost affect substance use statistics.

In the case of cocaine, a possible explanation for the rising rates of cocaine use could be opioids. On the state and national level, government agencies have been directing additional resources toward battling opioid use. By reducing access to opioids, people may be seeking out cocaine to get the desired high.

Cocaine Abuse by Age

When these widespread cocaine trends are present, experts work to understand who is using the drugs so they can explore appropriate interventions. In Florida, just under 2% of people over 12 reported using cocaine in the last year. As a state, this rate is lower than the national average of 2.03%.

Cocaine use in Florida may seem low, but it is important to pay attention to trends. Just a few years ago, the rate of cocaine use was about 1.6%. The difference in several years equates to many more people using the substance.

Cocaine Statistics in Teens

Out of all the teens in Florida, about 0.5% of them have used cocaine in the last year. This rate is slightly lower than the national average for kids between 12 and 17.

Cocaine Statistics in Young Adults

Many people decide to experiment and misuse drugs during their late teens and early 20s. Young adults in Florida display the highest rates of cocaine use by age. Cocaine use in college-aged Floridians is more than 6.2%, which is higher than the national average of 5.88%.

Cocaine Abuse in Older Adults

The rate of cocaine use increases between the ages of 18 and 25, but it decreases sharply for people 26 and older. In Florida, just over 1.5% of people used cocaine last year, which is close to the national average.

Trends in Overdoses and Deaths Caused by Cocaine Use

In Florida, especially in the southern part of the state, the role of cocaine use in overdoses and deaths has changed dramatically over the past five years. Florida is following national trends when it comes to cocaine overdoses. In 2012, there were around 4,000 cocaine overdose deaths per year in the country, compared to nearly 14,000 in 2017.

Related Topic: Cocaine Overdose

A primary cause behind this rapid increase is the use of cocaine and opioids together. People overdosing on cocaine alone has remained mostly steady since 1999, but the number of people overdosing from a combination of opioids and cocaine has increased sharply since 2014.

Counties With Highest Overdose Death Count

A breakdown of Florida counties illustrates how trends of substance use can shift over a short amount of time. While cocaine overdose deaths have been steady or falling in the northern part of the state, the numbers are growing in South Florida:

  • In Lee County, the deaths caused by cocaine grew from 2.5 per 100,000 in 2013 to 12.6 per 100,000 in 2017
  • Palm Beach County went from less than four in 2013 to nearly 19 deaths per 100,000 in 2017
  • Broward County went from less than three in 2013 to 12.5 deaths per 100,000 in 2017

Other counties showing similar increases include:

  • Miami-Dade
  • Monroe
  • Manatee

Crimes Related to Cocaine Use

Cocaine and other drugs are linked to crimes for a variety of reasons. According to the Center for American Progress, someone is arrested for drug possession every 25 seconds. In addition,  20% of people who are incarcerated are serving time for drug charges.

Aside from drug possession, millions of people are incarcerated for crimes they committed while under the influence of drugs like cocaine. Cocaine crime statistics show that the drug can encourage people to:

  • Fight and assault others
  • Destroy property
  • Steal items from stores or other citizens
  • Violate traffic and driving laws
  • Engage in risky sexual behavior

Some studies show that about 97% of people who have used crack cocaine have also engaged in violence and theft. These behaviors put them at greater risk of encountering issues with the law.

Trends in Available Treatment Resources in South Florida

With a high cocaine addiction rate in southern Florida, treatment resources must be available in order to improve the chances of recovery. In recent years, there has been a boom in new treatment centers in the area. In fact, there are so many substance misuse facilities in South Florida that NBC News called it “The Rehab Capital of America.”

Someone interested in treatment in Palm Beach, Florida, will have access to 90 treatment centers located within 30 miles. Someone in Miami will have access to 100, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) treatment locator tool. Many of these have been able to open due to the Affordable Care Act.

A few of these options may carry risks, however. In Florida, some treatment facilities are only interested in profiting from addiction. These rehab facilities, sober living homes, and other centers will actually encourage continued use so they can charge insurance companies for additional fees. Because of this, people needing cocaine treatment in South Florida should thoroughly research the treatment center to ensure it meets high standards of integrity.

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Other Drug Trends in South Florida

Unfortunately, cocaine is not the only drug affecting people in Florida. Consider these trends based on statistics from SAMHSA:

Prescription Drug Abuse Trends

The rates of prescription pain reliever misuse have stayed steady over the last few years in Florida, with about 4% of Florida residents misusing the substances.

Opioid Abuse and Overdose Trends

It appears Florida opioid misuse is climbing. Heroin overdose deaths are increasing, especially in South Florida, with overdose rates growing across many countries between 2013 and 2017.

Alcohol Use Trends

It seems that alcohol use is actually decreasing among Floridians, moving from 53.4% to 51.8%.

Marijuana Use Trends

The use of marijuana in the last year has held steady at about 13% for people in Florida.

Fentanyl Abuse Statistics

Since 2013, there has been a large increase in fentanyl use and fentanyl-related deaths in Florida. The trend is most notable along the Atlantic coast.

If cocaine or another drug is impacting your life negatively, The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health is here to help. Contact us today to connect to a helpful representative who can recommend the right services for your needs and symptoms. We can show you how to begin the path toward lifelong recovery.

View Sources

Carvalho, H.B., Seibel, S.D. “Crack Cocaine Use and Its Relationship with Violence and HIV.” Clinics, September 2009. Accessed October 5, 2019.

Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association. “Substance Abuse Trends Alert!: Cocaine Use Varies Across Florida Regions.” May 2019. Accessed October 5, 2019.

Pearl, Betsy. “Ending the War on Drugs: By the Numbers.” Center for American Progress, June 27, 2019. Accessed October 5, 2019.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Overdose Death Rates.” January 2019. Accessed October 5, 2019.

Seville, Lisa; Checter, Anna; Rappleye, Hannah. “Florida’s Billion-Dollar Drug Treatment Industry Is Plagued by Overdoses, Fraud.” NBC News, June 25, 2017. Accessed October 5, 2019.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “2016-2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Model-Based Prevalence Estimates (50 States and the District of Columbia).” 2018. Accessed October 5, 2019.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “2015-2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Model-Based Prevalence Estimates (50 States and the District of Columbia).” 2017. Accessed October 5, 2019.

Wang, Y., Goldberger, B.A., Delcher, C. “Florida Drug-Related Outcomes and Surveillance Tracking System (FROST). University of Florida, 2019. Accessed October 5, 2019.