Cocaine deaths

A study of 146 deaths from cocaine use in NSW from the records of the Coroners Office showed-

89% of the cocaine death victims were not in any treatment program.

The number of cocaine deaths increased substantially between 1998 and 2001 with the worst years being 1998 and also 2001.

84% of cocaine death victims were males.

The average age at death was 34 years.

3 out of 4 victims were in a married or defacto relationship.

Half of the victims were employed and 26% of all cocaine victims worked in professional occupations.

3 out of 4 victims were born in Australia.

(Source: National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre)


Most of the cocaine death victims were long-term illicit drug users that were not receiving any assistance in getting themselves drug free.

Australian courts should direct arrested cocaine drug users into detoxification and rehabilitation programs with the clear aim to get them off all illicit drugs.

Providing illicit drug users with places to use drugs, clean syringes and other programs to maintain or change their drug use is not working.

Effective rehabilitation programs with the objective to get illicit drug users totally drug free is the only way to prevent cocaine deaths.