The use of cocaine has been in the shadow of opioid narcotics for well over a decade. One could even argue that cocaine is hardly a concern any more, when compared to the deadly nature of opioid addiction, prescription opioids and/or heroin. It was not that long ago when crack cocaine was the primary target of police departments and federal agencies charged with addressing drug use. Today, however, you really have to search to find anything about cocaine in the era of opioids.
Cocaine use and cocaine overdoses had been on steady decline for a number of years. What’s more, cocaine on its own isn’t often associated with overdose deaths. With prescription opioids and heroin abuse stealing the headlines across the country, cocaine use came to be of seemingly little import. However, there is significant data to support a dramatic rise of overdose deaths involving cocaine in recent years.
Speedballing Towards Overdose
The 2016 Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Drug Threat Assessment found that cocaine availability and abuse are showing the first signs of a possible increase in the United States since 2007. The U.S. News analysis of mortality data showed a significant increase in cocaine-related overdose deaths in recent years, according to the U.S. News & World Report. The rise in cocaine related deaths is the likely result of more and more addicts mixing cocaine and heroin together, a practice commonly referred to as “speedballing.”
“When there are no opioids involved in cocaine-overdose deaths you see an overall decline in recent years,” says Christopher M. Jones, an acting associate deputy assistant secretary with the Department of Health and Human Services. “But when you look at cocaine and opioids together, we see a more than doubling in the number of overdoses since 2010, with heroin and synthetic opioids increasingly involved in these deaths.”
Using heroin or prescription opioids can easily result in an overdose death, especially when the synthetic opioid fentanyl is involved. As was mentioned earlier, cocaine on its own doesn’t typically result in an overdose. But when you mix opioids and cocaine together… The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Wide-Ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research database (WONDER) compiles information from death certificates, the article reports. After subtracting opioids from overdose data involving cocaine, researchers found that overdose deaths from cocaine stalled out. The real danger lies in the admixture.
Treating Opioid and Cocaine Addiction
While opioids may be more dangerous than cocaine, both drugs are highly addictive and have the power to both ruin and take lives. If you are battling with addiction of any kind, the risk of overdose is very real. In today’s illegal drug market, it is extremely difficult to determine one white powder from another. Heroin and fentanyl are commonly mixed together unbeknownst to the addict. It is also possible that cocaine is being mixed with fentanyl as well.
At the end of the day, addressing one’s addiction is the best course to take to ensure that you have a future. Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat to begin the journey of addiction recovery.