Past 15-year trends in lifetime cocaine use among US high school students

Kristin E. Schneider, Noa Krawczyk, Ziming Xuan, Renee M. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background Most recent research on adolescent drug use has focused on alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. Less is known about the recent epidemiology of adolescent cocaine use, which has serious health consequences. Purpose To describe recent trends in cocaine use by U.S. high school students, and identify differences in lifetime and repeated use across sex and racial/ethnic groups. Methods We used data from the national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBS) from 1999 to 2015. We estimated the prevalence of lifetime cocaine use (LCU) and repeated lifetime cocaine use (RLCU) across years by race/ethnicity and sex and tested for linear and quadratic trends. Results The prevalence of LCU decreased from 1999 to 2015 (9.54%–5.19%). RLCU also decreased (5.13%–2.84%). Despite the overall decline, LCU and RLCU both rose between 2009–2015 (LCU:2.78%–5.19%, RLCU:1.58%–2.84%). Boys had higher rates of LCU and RLCU than girls (LCU:6.42% vs 4.65%; RLCU:3.69% vs 2.18%). American Indian/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and Hispanic adolescents had the highest overall prevalence of LCU. Black adolescents’ LCU patterns differed from other racial/ethnic groups. The prevalence of LCU among Black boys increased over time, while the prevalence for Black girls remained consistently low. Conclusions Adolescent cocaine use is less common today than in the 1990s. However, rates of adolescent cocaine use have risen across all racial/ethnic groups in the past few years. Public health efforts should address at risk groups with particularly high or rising rates of cocaine use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-72
Number of pages4
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Adolescents
  • Cocaine
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Past 15-year trends in lifetime cocaine use among US high school students'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this