| Drugs |

America's Cocaine Habit Has Dropped 40 Percent Since 2006 (But South Florida Still Loves It)

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If you've been having a harder time trying to find a random stranger at the club with an extra bump, there might be a good reason for it. There's been a staggering 40 percent drop in the number of Americans who use cocaine since 2006.

"I've never seen such a rapid decline for such an addictive drug," an expert tells The Christian Science Monitor.

South Florida didn't get the memo. Evidence suggests that the drug is as popular as ever here, if not more so.

Back in 2006, 2.4 million American reported having snorted a little bit of blow. In 2011 the number was down to just 1.4 million. The number of Americans who reported having tried cocaine for the first time and who are dependent or addicted to the drug has also seriously dropped.

Coke-related deaths and positive results on workplace drug tests are also down more than 44 and 65 percent respectively since 2006.

The Monitor reports that part, but not all, of the reason may be because America has partnered with Colombia since 2001 to put a serious dent on the possibility for cocaine production in the South American country. The Coast Guard has also stepped up efforts to seize cocaine off shore (as Miamians are quite aware).

Those supply-side reasons for coke's decline may have also contributed to a lowering of demand. Coke has steadily become more expensive while simultaneously less pure. Even when it comes to drugs, Americans don't like paying a lot more for a lot less.

That doesn't mean Americans are doing less drugs though. They're just doing different drugs. Americans, God bless us, are an inventive and scrappy people. We'll make do with what's available. So there are reports that use of substances like meth and bath salts are on the rise.

Some experts also think the drug may just be temporarily uncool. Kids today are all about that molly after all.

But there's one area where coke use seems to be steady, if not on the rise. Our region of course:

Unlike most other regions, southern Florida has seen cocaine-related emergency-room visits rise sharply in the past several years - perhaps an indicator that cocaine will soon be on the rise again nationwide, Mr. Hall says. In the 1970s, Miami was a harbinger of the original cocaine epidemic.

Sure, it could be a national harbinger. Or it could be that Americans actually still love cocaine, and when they come down to Miami they think (usually correctly) our stuff is purer and cheaper.

We're basing this on nothing more than surprisingly candid tourists we've met who have asked us where to buy coke and given those exact reasons, but perhaps coke has just become Miami's most famous regional delicacy.

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