Coke Is It!


Break out the parachute pants, Members Only jackets, and official Don Johnson stubble shavers!

In one more sign that '80s nostalgia is just around the corner, the Justice Department, which just released its latest annual National Drug Threat Assessment, calls cocaine "the greatest drug threat" to these United States.

Reports the Washington Times, "In ranking cocaine just above methamphetamine as the top threat, the report maintains there are almost no places in the United States where a potential buyer would not be able to find the drug for sale." Not that ubiquity shouldn't be confused with growing use rates. Per the Times,

The report, posted on NDIC's Web site…indicates a slight increase in the number of U.S. adults snorting cocaine ? about 5.6 percent in 2002 compared with 5.3 percent in 2001 ? and shows cocaine use among adolescents "appears to be trending downward."

It found that use declined from 1.8 percent in 2002 to 1.6 percent in 2003 among eighth graders, from 3.4 to 2.8 percent among 10th graders and from 4.4 to 4.2 percent among 12th graders.

Additionally, fewer teens are taking crack, the more powerful, smokeable form of the drug. It also found that use among 10th graders declined significantly from 2.3 percent in 2002 to 1.6 percent in 2003. Among 12th graders, it slipped from 2.3 percent to 2.2 percent.

The feds estimate the illegal drug trade at $64 billion a year.

A bit ago, Reason's Jacob Sullum delved into the question of whether, well, crack cocaine is the heroin of addictive drugs. And I assayed the formula for one of the most worn-out genres of journalism, "the new drug of choice story."

[DOJ link via]