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The Most Commonly Abused Drug in America Is…

It’s no mystery that addiction continues to be a problem in the United States. According to a recently-released government report, while almost 23 million Americans need treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, only 2.5 million sought care at drug treatment centers in 2013. Nearly 10 percent of Americans aged 12 and older are admitted drug users. The report, put together using data from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, also demonstrates the most commonly abused drugs in the country.

Marijuana Most Commonly Abused Drug

According to the survey, some 20 million Americans reported smoking marijuana in the last year, which makes it the most widely used illegal drug in the country. While not all of those who smoke marijuana are addicted to the drug, many people do develop dependencies on the active ingredient, THC. Non-medical prescription drug use was cited in a distant second, with 4.5 million users. Non-medical prescription drug use is almost always addictive in nature—with individuals taking medications such as benzodiazepines, opiate and opioid pain medications, and more, without having the conditions that those drugs treat.

Cocaine is still holding strong, unfortunately, with 1.5 million users, while methamphetamines and heroin were used by 595,000 people and 289,000 people surveyed respectively.

While marijuana may be the most common drug consumed by individuals in the United States, the National Institute of Drug Abuse released a report months ago that highlights the severity of the prescription drug abuse epidemic in America. According to statistics compiled by the Institute, the US is responsible for 75% of all drug use around the world, with more than five million abusing painkillers, 2.2 million using tranquilizers illegally, and another 1.1 million abusing stimulants.

Treatment Is Available

In light of these statistics, particularly the finding that while 23 million Americans needed treatment for drug abuse only 2.5 million sought it, it’s important to keep in mind that treatment is possible. There are many options for individuals seeking to live a clean and sober life; in addition to drug and alcohol treatment centers and rehab facilities, there are twelve-step programs, outpatient programs, and other possibilities available to match any and all budgets.

The most important thing for anyone who is suffering from an addiction is to get help sooner, rather than later. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, more than 100 prescription drug overdose deaths occur every day in the United States, making drug abuse more lethal than car accidents, guns, and suicide.

While addiction is dangerous and difficult to live with, there are opportunities to get help. Long-term care, a supportive environment, and treatment that deals with the underlying causes of addiction are the cornerstones of a long life of health and sobriety—but these things are all attainable. If you or a loved one are suffering from the effects of substance abuse, it is vitally important that you find a treatment program that works for you. Death by a number of factors—even beyond overdose—is far too easy for an addict to succumb to. Don’t add yourself to the statistics; get the treatment you need.

For more common drugs, visit Substance Abuse Rehabs website.


Our articles are written by individuals who have seen addiction up close. They may have watched addiction take a toll on someone they loved or had their own battles with substances, and they write for us to spare others some of that pain and confusion. If you find these writings useful and would like to speak to someone who gets addiction, call us at (844) 826-1700.

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