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The Demographics of Cocaine Use: Is it a ‘White Collar’ Drug?

The newest Lotus Evora GT sports car would cost you around $100,000 to buy new. You could dig into some deep pockets to buy it and spend your days doing 0 to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds. Or you could spend a year addicted to cocaine.

The stimulant is often called the White Color Drug because it’s often popular among high-powered business people and top floor executives. But is that because it’s popular among people who enjoy a feeling of power like the Wall Street elite might, or does cocaine require an executive-level salary? 

Drug addiction often causes serious psychological, medical, and social consequences. But it often comes with a heavy price tag as well. The online news outlet Vice has estimated that a severe cocaine addiction could cost between $450 and $1,200 each day

In 2016, Vice reported that a gram of cocaine went for about $60. However, the price for a gram at the street level can vary, depending on several factors, including crackdowns on coca farming among foreign suppliers. It can potentially cost as much as $150 or more, according to Business Insider.

Who Uses Cocaine?

Addiction knows no bounds, so any person can become addicted to cocaine regardless of race, age, sex, or geographic location. However, there are protective and risk factors that can cause certain demographics to be at higher risk for cocaine addiction. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there were more than 1 million current cocaine users in 2014, and rates remained the same for years. According to a 2014 demographics study of powder and crack cocaine use among high-school seniors, some identifying markers were risk factors while others lowered the odds for cocaine use. 

Demographics with lower odds included:

  • Identifying as Black
  • Living with one or two parents
  • Making less than $50 per week
  • Identifying as religious
  • Having highly educated parents

Demographics with increased odds included:

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However, despite the assumption that cocaine is the drug of high socioeconomic status, according to a NIDA paper published during the crack cocaine epidemic  in 1991, income may not play a big role in cocaine use. It writes, “…total income per week showed only a small association with cocaine use.”

Not Just for White Collars

A six-figure salary may be ideal if you have a cocaine addiction, but your brain’s reward center doesn’t know what’s in your checking account.

If you develop a severe substance use disorder involving cocaine, you may be stuck in an addiction you can’t afford. The financial and chemical demand can lead to risky, desperate behavior.   

People who are stuck in cocaine addiction often turn to stripping, prostitute, and theft to maintain their substance use.

A 2017 study showed that cocaine-addicted people who are homeless turn to illegal and informal means of funding their drug use.

A line of cocaine atop a pile of hundred dollar bills

People who wouldn’t otherwise fall into criminal activity do so out of desperation for a substance their brains are telling them they need.

Sources

Krishnan, M. (2016, March 8). We Asked Drug Addicts How Much Their Habit Costs Them. Retrieved from https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/nn9p3k/the-cost-of-being-a-drug-addict-in-canada

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016, May). What is the scope of cocaine use in the United States? Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-scope-cocaine-use-in-united-states

NIDA. (1991). The Epidemiology of Cocaine Use and Abuse. Retrieved from https://archives.drugabuse.gov/nida-research-monograph-index

North, C. S., & Pollio, D. E. (2017, October 25). Financing Cocaine Use in a Homeless Population. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5746683/

Palamar, J. J., & Ompad, D. C. (2014, January). Demographic and socioeconomic correlates of powder cocaine and crack use among high school seniors in the United States. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5066573/

Woody, C. (2016, October 13). Cocaine prices in the US have barely moved in decades – here's how cartels distort the market. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-does-cocaine-cost-in-the-us-2016-10

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