Opiates to Blame in Recent Surge of Cocaine Overdoses

increase in cocaine overdoses

It’s easy to forget that other drugs exist in the world besides opiates. Opiates get tons of media attention, of course, due to the sheer number of casualties left in the wake of their use. However, the reality is there are more drugs deserving of just as much attention because some of them are causing quite a problem. It’s not a new revelation that we have an up-and-coming methamphetamine epidemic. Interestingly enough, methamphetamine use seems to be accompanying opiate use, as more and more treatment centers are seeing admissions of addicts abusing both substances. Beyond meth, people are still abusing the drugs of “yesterday,” most namely, cocaine.

Cocaine abuse is reminiscent of the 1980’s and is reminiscent of the 1980s and 1990s, when the “who’s who” of Hollywood and the club scene indulged in endless amounts of the white powder. It is also when Colombian cartels controlled the flow of the drug into the country, gang violence and bloodshed were a regular occurrence in Miami and just about everyone who used drugs, used cocaine. As time went on and the drug scene evolved, so to speak, you started hearing less and less about cocaine and more and more about heroin and painkillers. Opiates are today’s drug fad and it’s rare to run into predominantly powder cocaine users.

Strangely enough, there’s actually been a recent rise in the number of people who are overdosing on cocaine and having complications due to cocaine abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse, the CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reviewed a national trend that shows heroin and other opiates have recently driven the numbers up of cocaine-related overdose deaths. The report gave evidence that cocaine overdoses increased between 2000 and 2006, but dropped between 2006 and 2010, which is when supplies of the drug dropped and street prices were jacked way up. In 2010, even though cocaine use and abuse was down, related overdose deaths increased.

The interesting part is this increase in cocaine OD’s primarily involved the use of synthetic opiates as well, which directly corresponds to the recent rise in the opiate epidemic. There are many ways the use of cocaine with opiates can cause major complications. First of all, there have been countless deaths over the years due to “speedballing,” which is when a person mixes cocaine and opiates in the same syringe and shoots it up. John Belushi and Chris Farley are two famous cases of the deadly results of mixing the two drugs. Also, recently, cocaine has been found to be getting mixed with fentanyl by dealers for whatever reason. The results have been addicts dying actually from fentanyl overdoses while taking cocaine mixed with fentanyl.

Either way you look at it, doing drugs these days is unlike any other time in history. There’s too many variables to worry about if you’re a drug user. I’ve said it many, many times, but back in the day you honestly had less things to worry about when buying and using drugs than you do today. Back then, you worried about dealers ripping you off by giving you less potent or fake drugs. These days, you have to worry about the opposite. You have to worry about the drugs being so strong, they will most likely kill you. Drug rehabilitation is the best tool we have to fight the current scourge of drug abuse. There are tons of options for drug rehabilitation and choosing the best one that works for the individual is of the upmost importance. I commonly say it doesn’t matter how someone gets clean, just as long as they get clean. If you or someone you know needs help with drug addiction, call Narconon Suncoast today at 1-877-850-7355.

Sources Used:


Jason Good

Jason has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 11 years. Having been an addict himself he brings real-word experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Jason is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions. Jason is also the co-host of The Addiction Podcast—Point of No Return. You can follow Jason on Google+, Twitter, or connect with him on LinkedIn.