09/26/2011 11:53 am ET Updated Nov 26, 2011

Cocaine-Related Deaths In New York Plummet; Bad Economy To Thank?

Yet another sign today, albeit a more encouraging one, of a faltering economy— New Yorkers appear to be ditching their pricey cocaine habits.

The New York Post reports there were 274 cocaine-related deaths in New York City in 2010, down from 478 in 2006. Also, close to 2,000 fewer people sought treatment for coke addiction last year compared to 2008.

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

A gram of cocaine typically sells for $60 to $80.

Perhaps another incentive for New Yorkers to quit cocaine was a recent report that 82 percent of cocaine seized by the DEA in the United States is cut with the veterinary drug, levamisole, which caused a small outbreak of rotting flesh on its users in New York in Los Angeles.

Rising prices on vices have also caused smoking rates in New York to plummet. At $14 a pack at some stores in the city, a record-low 14 percent of New Yorkers are smoking.