(Summer 2017) As the opioid epidemic rages on in Ohio and around the country, law enforcement agents now say that use of cocaine and methamphetamine is once again on the rise. The cause of these stimulants’ reemergence is twofold. First, due to a 30% upswing in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) prescriptions between 2010 and 2015, efforts to reduce the use of these drugs have spurred some individuals to find a “buzz” similar to that produced by these medications elsewhere. The second reason is stark: drug abusers are seeing the growing death rates from heroin and opioid overdoses— and do not want to meet the same fate. For example, Ohio alone saw over 3,000 lives lost due to opioid overdoses in 2015, and officials say the 2016 results will be even higher when they are tallied.
Cocaine’s availability in the U.S. is ramping up after an almost 10-year decline. The drug’s abundance may be the result of Colombia’s increased coca production. According to the State Department, cocaine is currently flowing in from Colombia at unprecedented rates; in fact, tests on cocaine seized in the United States show that 90% of it came from Colombia.
Unfortunately, as more cocaine enters the country, Americans’ abuse of the drug has increased. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that the number of young adults in the U.S. who said they tried cocaine for the first time skyrocketed 61% from 2013 to 2015. The NSDUH also revealed that 5% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 used cocaine in 2015.
Additionally, officials say they have their eyes on an anti-seizure drug called gabapentin, which is sold as Neurontin. This stimulant, also used to treat nerve pain, was rivaling opiates for the number of prescriptions issued in Ohio at the end of 2016. As with methamphetamines and cocaine, Neurontin is often abused by being snorted, injected or ingested.
See all current Alcohol and Drug Trends articles.