Decline Watch: New York’s cocaine comedown

Decline Watch: New York’s cocaine comedown

Thanks to a sluggish economy and slightly less astronomical Wall Street bonuses, New Yorkers apparently no longer move snowflakes by the OZ. The New York Post reports:

Cocaine-related emergency-room admissions, overdoses and requests for rehab have declined since the economy started its 2008 decline, according to data obtained by The Post.

“It is sort of on a slight but steady downward trend,” said Dr. Stephen Ross, director of NYU’s Langone Center of Excellence on Addiction. “I treat patients in private practice. Many cocaine addicts tell me stories they don’t have enough money to buy it anymore.”

There were 478 “accidental” deaths in which cocaine was a factor, typically overdoses, in New York City in 2006, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

That number plunged to just 274 in 2010.

Powder-cocaine addicts typically shell out $60 to $80 a gram, so perhaps the high cost of blow is why also a smaller number of people — 7,693 — sought treatment for cocaine addiction in New York City last year, according to the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. That number is a drop from 9,654 in 2008.

Decline-o-meter score: 3

This might be an indicator of a slower economy, but it also might not be the worst thing — for their own health and the global economy — for aspiring masters-of-the-universe to lay off the nose candy. 

Mexican President Felipe Calderón said at the U.N. last week that the United States and other consumer countries are "morally obliged" to reduce the demand for narcotics. Perhaps the recession may help accomplish that. On the other hand, as White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske told FP in an interview this year, "We’ve become much better at producing drugs in the United States." American jobs!

Hat tip: Mike Nizza