Cocaine Becomes No. 2 Killer of Illicit Drugs

Sarah Purnell
Staff Writer

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PC: Acid Pix

According to the New York Times, a recent report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that cocaine is the no. 2 killer among illicit drugs, just behind opioids. In addition, an analysis by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that between 1999 to 2015, overdose deaths among Americans between 20 to 64 years old have increased by 5.5 percent each year.

“We have multiple drug problems in the U.S.,” said Keith Humphreys, a professor at Stanford University School of Medicine who advises governments on drug prevention and treatment policies. ‘We need to focus on more than one drug at a time.’”

As Jenese Harris with Jacksonville, Florida News reported, an Opioid Pilot Program aimed to assist with the recovery of opioid addiction has found that fentanyl is also adding to the deadly mix. Doctors of the program have reported that cocaine is being laced with the fentanyl and that patients of the Project Save Lives at the St. Vincent hospital are found to have fentanyl in their system more than any other drug.

The epidemic is specifically hitting African American communities, claiming more lives than heroin, according to The New York Times.

While the opioid epidemic continues to worsen, there has been a significant amount of research going into it. A medication has even been created to treat the addiction, unlike cocaine. Cocaine addiction has been given attention, but no treatments or vaccines are available yet.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective for recovering cocaine addicts. The therapy aims to teach individuals positive behaviors when problematic patterns arise. In addition, cognitive management, which aims to reward recoveries for their positive behavior, has also had successful results.

“Cognitive-behavioral strategies are based on the theory that in the development of maladaptive behavioral patterns like substance abuse, learning processes play a critical role,” the National Institute of Drug Abuse reported. “Individuals in CBT learn to identify and correct problematic behaviors by applying a range of different skills that can be used to stop drug abuse and to address a range of other problems that often co-occur with it.”

Such therapy treatments have seen a successful track record when adequate staff and professionals are available. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a resource that has been available through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, with the changes to the ACA  and Medicaid, coverage may be limited.

“If insurance support is withdrawn, some addiction treatment agencies will lose staff or close, and some desperately needy addicted people will be cut off from care,” the New York Times reported.



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