Drop In U.S. Cocaine Use: Success Of War On Drugs?

Drop In U.S. Cocaine Use: Success Of War On Drugs?

It’s been awhile since we’ve run across a story about drugs
that wasn’t about marijuana.

Two days ago, National Public Radio published
a story about cocaine, and how its use here in the U.S. has gone down by nearly half since 2006,
from 1% of the population to 0.5%. NPR says that this drop equates to
Americans saying “no” to cocaine, as though 1% to 0.5% is
a big deal. But with only 1% using it in the first place, a drop by half
does seem to be significant.

NPR quotes a professor with the University of Maryland:

“The drug went out of vogue a long time ago. Lots of people experiment
with it, but very few of the people that experiment with it in the last
20 years have gone on to become regular users of it.”

When the good professor says cocaine went “out of vogue,” we
are of course talking about the 1980s, when cocaine use was big among
moneyed circles in NYC (and, presumably, elsewhere). NPR references the
novelist Jay McInerney’s
Bright Lights, Big City, in which, according to McInerney, “The ethos in fashionable Manhattan
was that you worked hard all day and you stayed up and partied all night,
and cocaine seemed to facilitate that kind of approach to life.”

Of course, the other thing cocaine facilitates is
serious drug charges. The War on Drugs may seem to be dimming when it comes to marijuana (at
least where the public seems open to ending marijuana prohibition), but
remains strong on cocaine.