Crack Cocaine Statistics

Crack Cocaine Statistics takes a look at who is using crack cocaine. Use of crack cocaine affects every region, race, gender, age, and economic status. Learn more about who is at a higher risk of using crack cocaine.


Crack cocaine use has declined since its peak in the 1980s, but statistics show that crack is still a serious problem in the United States, especially among young, low-income drug users.

Crack cocaine was most popular in the 1980s, and the number of people using crack has declined since that time, but figures for its use remained steady in the last decade. Recently there has been an increase in the number of people seeking treatment for crack cocaine addiction, which may indicate an increase in crack users.

In 2006, government research on crack and cocaine use suggested that:

  • Over 34 million Americans had used cocaine at least once in their lifetime
  • Between 6 and 8 million Americans had used crack cocaine
  • 1 million of those who had used crack cocaine at some point were teens or young adults at the time when they abused crack
  • An estimated 1 million or more Americans uses crack each year

Crack cocaine use affects people in the United States from every region, race or ethnic group, gender, age, and economic status, though some groups are more affected by crack abuse than other groups. People who use crack cocaine are more likely to be:

  • Young
  • Male
  • Unmarried
  • Unemployed
  • High school dropouts
  • Living below the poverty level

Crack cocaine users can be any age, but young adults aged 18 to 25 are the age group most likely to use crack cocaine. Teens are less likely than young adults to use crack, but the awareness among teens of the dangers of crack cocaine use is declining, which could lead to more abuse of crack among teens. About 4 percent of high school seniors are estimated to have used crack cocaine, and about 1 percent may use it in any given month.

In a survey done among teens in 2005, researchers found:

  • 2.4 percent of 8th graders had used cocaine, 1.4 percent in the last year, and .6 percent in the last month.
  • 2.5 percent of 10th graders had used cocaine, 1.7 percent in the last year, and .7 percent in the last month
  • 3.5 percent of 12th graders had used cocaine, 1.9 percent in the last year, and 1 percent in the last month.

The average age that a person starts using cocaine is about 20 years old. While about 2.4 to 4 percent of teens have used cocaine, over 15 percent of young adults report having used cocaine.

Crack cocaine has been more common in the eastern than the western parts of the United States. Some areas that report higher than average numbers of cocaine deaths include:

  • New York City and Newark, New Jersey
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Texas

Crack use is slightly more common in cities than in non-urban areas, but it is used outside of cities as well.

Crack cocaine use has been fairly equally distributed among race. About 11% of whites, blacks, and Latinos have tried a cocaine product once in their lives. Currently, however, some ethnic groups have somewhat higher use rates, by percentage of the ethnic groups’ population, than others.

  • Native American groups have about a 2 percent use rate
  • African Americans have a 1.6 percent use rate
  • Whites have a .8 percent use rate
  • Latinos have a .8 percent use rate
  • Pacific Islanders have a .6 percent use rate
  • Asians have a .2 percent use rate

Recently young Asian Americans have shown a decrease in the use of cocaine, while young African Americans show an increase of use. Considering, however, that whites outnumber other ethnic groups in the United States, the largest numbers of crack cocaine users are white.

Researchers have found that, when economic status is taken into consideration, the distribution of crack cocaine users in each race is about the same. It is low income more than race or ethnicity that increases the likelihood that a person will use crack cocaine. Crack is often marketed to poorer individuals or neighborhoods because it is cheaper than other forms of cocaine.

Children are a group whose exposure to crack cocaine use is very concerning, and some statistics are available about the use of crack cocaine in households with children.

  • Overall, adults with children at home are less likely to use crack than those without children.
  • Young parents are more likely to use crack cocaine than older parents, which means that young children are more likely to be in a home with crack users than older children.
  • Almost 2 million parents have used some form of cocaine in the last year.

Crack cocaine is an addictive and often deadly drug. Crack cocaine leads to a faster high than other types of cocaine, and a faster addiction. Most crack cocaine deaths result from heart attack or seizure, often followed by an inability to breathe. Death from crack use can occur the first time crack is used.


U.S. Department of Justice, National Drug Intelligence Center, Crack Cocaine Fast Facts [online]

National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information, Tips for Teens: The Truth About Cocaine [online]

National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIDA InfoFacts: Crack and Cocaine [online]

National Institute on Drug Abuse, Research Report Series: Cocaine Abuse and Addiction [online]

United States Sentencing Commission, Report (to Congress) on Cocaine and Federal Sentencing Policy, Chapter 3 - Cocaine Use and Public Health Issues, Feb 1995 [online]

Related Article: Effects of Crack Cocaine >>