Publication Date


Degree Type

Master of Public Health


The myths and misconceptions that surround cocaine use lead to the over-estimation of the prevalence of cocaine addiction in society. Health education curricula and drug policy do not differentiate between cocaine use and abuse. This study describes the cocaine consumption patterns in a nonclinical, non-incarcerated sample of cocaine users. The resulting patterns are compared to those found by Cohen (1989) and Cohen and Sas (1993, 1994, 1995). DRUGNET is an online survey of recreational drug use by nondeviant adults via the WWW. Self-selected subjects completed a survey over the Internet between February and October 1997 (N= 701). This sample was predominantly white (92%), male (85.3%), young (mean = 34.13 years, SD = 9.40, Range = 18 to 71), employed full-time (72.6%), and earned a median income of $50,000-69,999 (21.2%). The most prevalent pattern observed was a period of moderate consumption followed by declining use (52.7%). The second most common pattern observed was a period of increased consumption followed by steady decline to a lower stable level (25.5%). The most prevalent pattern of consumption found in this study and those reported by Cohen and Sas is that the most prevalent patterns all showed an eventual decline in consumption over time. Further, DRUGNET respondents exhibited similar patterns of use as those described by Cohen and Sas. The study's demonstration that cocaine use does not inevitably lead to increased use and probability of addiction raises serious questions about current policy and the content of most drug intervention models (i.e., DARE, court ordered treatment, etc.).


Public Health | Substance Abuse and Addiction