Intentional Use of Both Opioids and Cocaine in the United States

Original research
Liu, Xiguang & Mendel E. Singer

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A common question is whether decedents intentionally used both opioids and cocaine, or if they were unaware they had a mixture. This study uses the National Survey on Drug Use and Health to explore the frequency of cocaine use in people who use opioids and vice versa, and identify risk factors for using both.

Findings/Key points

People who use opioids or cocaine commonly choose to use the other. Among the 167,444 responders, 817(0.49%) reported use of opioids on a regular or daily basis. Of these, 28% used cocaine ≥1 of prior 30 days, 11% >1 day. Of 332 who used cocaine on a regular/daily basis, 48% used opioids ≥1 of prior 30 days, 25% >1 day. People with serious psychological distress were >6 times as likely to use both opioids and cocaine regularly/daily and people who have never been married were 4 times as likely. Compared to those living in a small metropolitan region, people living in a large metropolitan region were >3 times as likely and the unemployed were twice as likely. People with post-high school education were 53% less likely to use opioids and cocaine at least occasionally. Knowing the characteristics of those most likely to use both should guide interventions for prevention and harm reduction.


Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) (n=167 444)


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