8 Most Abused Drugs In The US

8 Most Abused Drugs In The Us

Drug abuse is endemic in many US populations. This is an age-long problem that's found among all groups. Over $740 billion is lost to drug abuse in the US yearly.

Although, the prevalence of drug abuse varies among sex, status, race, environment, etc. For instance, men are more likely to abuse drugs than women. Adolescents between 18-25 are also prone to drug abuse. Statistics revealed that unemployed people abuse drugs more compared to employed people. American Indians and African Americans are addicted to drugs more than Asian Americans.

It is common for people to use drug abuse and drug misuse interchangeably. However, both terms do not mean the same thing. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the motive behind the use of a drug is used to qualify drug abuse and misuse.

Drug abuse is the use of drugs for reasons other than medical purposes. For example, the use of marijuana to feel high is an abuse of the drug. On the other hand, drug misuse refers to the use of drugs for medical purposes without following prescription instructions. Incorrect dosage and skipping your medication are drug misuse.

Causes Of Drug Abuse

8 most abused drugs in the us

It may not be okay to talk about drug abuse without listing the causes. Although the causes vary from person to person.

Some of the common causes of drug abuse are:

Peer pressure


Broken homes


Religious practices

Environmental influence

To boost athletic performance


Drugs Groups Commonly Abused In The US

8 most abused drugs in the us

Some classes of drugs are more abused than others. The majority of abused drugs fall into these groups. So, it won't be a bad idea if we look at those groups of drugs that people abuse every day.


Stimulants: Stimulant is a class of drug that stimulates the sensory areas of your brain. They make you alert and energized. A common example of this group is cocaine. More than 5 million Americans use cocaine regularly as of 2017.

Death from cocaine overdose is high. Adolescents use more cocaine than any other group of people. Those who use cocaine tend to develop an addiction to the drug.

Depressants: Drugs that induce sleep and relieve anxiety are found in this category. Depressants are in the form of sedatives, tranquilizers, and hypnotics. Valium is an example of benzodiazepines that Americans regularly abuse. Americans also use barbiturate such as phenobarbital regularly as sleeping pills.

Opioids: Opioids are pain-relieving drugs. Examples include codeine, morphine, and hydrocodone.

What Are The Eight Most Abused Drugs In The US?

8 most abused drugs in the us

Now that we know the major classes of drugs that are subject to abuse, let us list the eight most abused medications in the US.

Statistics have revealed that the following drugs are commonly abused.


8 most abused drugs in the us

Heroin is one of the most abused drugs in the US. Over 800,000 Americans were said to have used heroin for the first time in 2017. In the same year, more than 15,000 Americans died from a heroin overdose.

Americans above the age of 12 and young adults within ages 18-25 are prone to a heroin overdose.


8 most abused drugs in the us

In 2017, cocaine overdose was responsible for 1 out of every 5 deaths. Stats says that about 5 million US citizens use cocaine regularly. Cocaine abuse is common among people between ages 18 to 25.


8 most abused drugs in the us

More than 35 million American people smoke marijuana every year. Also, about 43% of adult Americans tried to smoke marijuana. Marijuana addiction and disorder are common to those who abuse it.


8 most abused drugs in the us

Every year, tobacco causes about 480,000 deaths in the US. There are about 34 million cigarette smokers in the United States.


Inhalants include gases, solvents, and sprays which people abuse to get high. Examples of inhalants are nail polish, glue, and hair spray.

About 556,000 Americans abuse these substances. Inhalants cause about 15% of the deaths caused by suffocation.

Based on facts and figures published by organizations that monitor drug use and abuse in the US, other constantly abused drugs in the US are:


Hallucinogens (e.g. LSD, mescaline, ecstasy)


Let me end this piece by reminding you to stay away from the illegal use of drugs.