Molecular model of cocaine.

What are drug policies to help people who use cocaine to stay safe?

Drug policies should be rooted in health, not more criminalization.

There are many policies we can pass at the local, state, and federal level to help people who use cocaine to be safer.

  • Decriminalize drug equipment,
  • Authorize overdose prevention centers (OPC) on the state and local level,
  • Increase access to Contingency Management and other treatment,
  • Decriminalize drug possession,
  • Improve drug checking, surveillance and data collection and make them more widely accessible,
  • Explore regulatory models,
  • Fund more stimulant research to explore treatment options including medications.

Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) recommends a comprehensive, health-based response to the overdose crisis to keep people safe and healthy. There is growing public acceptance of the fact that drug use is a health issue, not a criminal one.

Unfortunately, some elected officials and members of law enforcement continue to call for draconian criminal policies to drive up support for policies that hurt people instead of helping them.

When it comes to cocaine, we must ensure that any new laws take a health approach. This includes decriminalizing drugs and drug equipment, creating a safer supply, overdose prevention centers, and supporting harm reduction.

We need a health approach to cocaine.

People have used cocaine for hundreds of years. Learn more about how drug decriminalization and investing in health and overdose prevention centers can keep people safer.



Reviewed and updated by Jules Netherland, PhD, and Dr. Sheila P. Vakharia on 05/02/2023.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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