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Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2014 Jan;40(1):37-43. doi: 10.3109/00952990.2013.838961. Epub 2013 Nov 5.

Demographic and socioeconomic correlates of powder cocaine and crack use among high school seniors in the United States.

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Department of Population Health, New York University Langone Medical Center , New York, NY , USA .

Erratum in

  • Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2014 Mar;40(2):176-7.



Rates of powder cocaine and crack use have fluctuated among adolescents over recent decades. Little attention has been paid to recent trends, particularly regarding differences between users of powder cocaine and crack-two forms of the substance that are commonly reported together as "cocaine" use, despite having different effects and rates of adverse outcomes.


We examined data from nationally representative samples of high school seniors who participated in the Monitoring the Future study during years 2005-2011 (weighted Nā€‰=ā€‰65ā€‰717).


Many demographic and socioeconomic variables were similarly correlated with lifetime use of powder cocaine and crack. Income of >$50/week from job increased the odds for use, and income of >$50/week from sources other than a job more than doubled the odds for use. High religiosity, high parent education, identifying as black, and residing with one or two parents reduced odds for use. Hispanic students were at higher odds for use of crack and females were at lower odds for using powder cocaine. Among cocaine users, residing with one or two parents lowered odds for using both forms, and more religious students and Hispanics were at higher odds for crack-only use.


Those interested in preventing initiation and adverse consequences of cocaine use should take into account the overlapping, yet different risk profiles of powder cocaine and crack users when developing programming. This is particularly important when considering differences in legal consequences for these pharmacologically similar forms of cocaine.

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