Overdose deaths resulting from cocaine use have nearly tripled over the past five years, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control. For the years before that, the number of deaths had stayed relatively steady.

Little has been reported in recent years regarding cocaine addiction, but the number of people addicted has been quietly rising. Deaths per 100,000 went from 1.6 in 2013 to 4.5 in 2018.

“While much attention has been given to the increase in drug overdose deaths involving opioids, it’s also important to recognize that deaths involving other drugs, such as cocaine, have also increased in recent years,” Dr. Holly Hedegaard, lead researcher and injury epidemiologist at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), told the media about the report.

Black Men Most Vulnerable

Demographically speaking, Black people, usually men aged 35 to 44, are the most likely victims of cocaine overdoses. The people who overdose on cocaine are also more likely to live in northeast cities, such as New York or Pittsburgh.

Cities have always had more potential for drug abuse. There are plenty of drug dealers on the streets, and there are usually organized crime networks involved in the import and production of cocaine and other street drugs.

Addiction is often a social problem faced by lower-income earners who often face other issues such as mental illness, unemployment, and chronic health issues.

Fentanyl is Also a Factor in Cocaine Overdoses

Cocaine overdoses between 2014 and 2018 also had a common denominator – a dramatic increase in fentanyl-involved overdoses. Like opioids purchased on the street, it appears many people accidentally ingested fentanyl, a potent drug that is 50 to 100 times as strong as morphine. This is not an outlier- the majority of opioid, even heroin, overdose deaths in this period were also attributed to fentanyl adulteration.

As time goes on, people will continue to use more drugs as they feel isolated. America needs to learn lessons from the opioid crisis and invest real money and time to help people outlive their addictions.