Pharmacotherapies for treatment of cocaine abuse: Preclinical aspects
Drug abuse, addiction, and dependence represent a major and increasing threat to public health. The 1997 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) estimated that 76.9 million individuals, aged 12 and older, had used an illicit drug at least once, that 24.2 million had used an illicit drug during the past year, and that 14 million were current users of illicit drugs. However, the household survey is not a very good indicator of drug use among chronic, hardcore drug users, as many of these users are not members of households.1 Thus, it is likely that the total number of users is much larger.1 Within the household population, however, there are indicators of increasing illicit drug use. For example, the rate of past-month use of any illicit drug among 12-17-year-olds rose from 9.0% in 1996 to 11.4% in 1997.1 The economic cost of drug abuse to the U.S. society is enormous and increasing. The health, crime, and other problems created by drug abuse cost society $97.7 billion in 1992, a 50% increase from
1985.2,3 The estimated cost for 1995 is $109.8 billion, which is almost one-half the size of the Department of Defense budget for 1995.3 While these numbers on use and cost show the magnitude of the drug abuse problem,
the human suffering is incalculable. Illness, crime, domestic violence, reduced productivity, and lost-opportunity are direct consequences of drug abuse.