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What Are The Most Addictive Drugs In America

What Are The Most Addictive Drugs In America

Substance abuse and drug addiction of all kinds still afflicts us all to some capacity. As a nation, it’s hard to avoid the topic, whether someone you know is battling with addiction, a family member, friend, or acquaintance, the numbers continue to grow as efforts are made to assist those afflicted. To get ahead of those difficult discussion, we at Long Island Center For Recovery (LICR) have taken the time to review those drugs and substances that most afflict us as a nation, and impact each and every one of our lives, one way or another.

The basis for our list is not to suggest any weight of affliction or dangers these drugs and substance inflict, all forms of abuse provide each individual their own impact, but the list simply follow’s the amount of American’s afflicted based on a variety of sources.

Top 7 Most Addictive Drugs In America

7. Heroin

In a recent drug abuse study, it was found that 0.4%* of Americans were reported as abusing heroin. This number is the lowest figure on our list but the lethality of heroin, and growing number of overdoses make it one of the most dangerous drugs in the country. The American Society of Addiction (ASAM) estimated that 25% of users who try heroin will become addicted, making its impact on dependence, the body, and of course the brain, a dangerous combination.

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6. Methamphetamines

In the same drug abuse study, it was that 1%* of Americans were reported as abusing methamphetamines. Unfortunately, these numbers continue to grow at rapid rates with those addicted to methamphetamines, as well as those who fall victim to a methamphetamine related death. There are many dangers with methamphetamines but the difficulty is furthered as users grow a tolerance to the drug, requiring more of the substance to reach similar levels of effect until it takes a toll on the body as well as the mind.

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5. Cocaine

The next drug impacting the highest volume of Americans is cocaine, which reported 2%* of Americans reaching levels of abuse. Not as lethal as the growing concern for methamphetamines, but similarly, cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant that makes users crave additional use. Cocaine users report extreme bouts of euphoria and energy after use, which is quickly followed by a crash, leading to binge use and increased dangers for overdose and abuse.

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4. Opioids

The next drug impacting Americans is opioids and prescription main meds, which reported impacting 7.1%* of Americans. The unfortunate truth with opioids is that the introduction to this highly addictive drug typically comes from a diagnosis and prescribed treatment for pain, however, users will become dependent on the medication, and continue to take the drugs after their physical pain has diminished. While it’s a slightly positive trend that as of 2018, the number of prescriptions per 100 persons was reduced from 81.3 to 51.4, this is still a far cry from where our nation needs to be, where in 2015 there were enough opioids being prescribed that would medicate every American around the clock for 3 full weeks.

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3. Marijuana

The next drug is the least physically impactful and least lethal drug on our list, but with a reported 18.7% of Americans abusing marijuana, it requires that just acknowledgement. Like other drugs and substances, marijuana has its benefits when prescribed for medicinal use, but most abusing Americans seek out marijuana as a psychoactive drug for recreational use. Many states have made the move to legalize marijuana, but it should be noted that the recreational use of this drug has its effect, can lead to the potential for other drug use, and in states where the drug has been legalized, marijuana related emergency room visits have increased by 54%.

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2. Alcohol

Alcohol falls in as the second most addictive substance in the United States. While only 6% of the adult population in the United Stated reported to have Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), 70.1%* of Americans reported to having consumed alcohol this past year, making it the most widely used addictive substance in the country, and worse more, alcohol contributes to an estimated 140,000 deaths each year.

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1. Nicotine

Finishing our list and deemed the most addictive drug in America is nicotine. Nicotine used in the form of tobacco products is still very much a detriment to the United States and it’s people. In a 2020 survey, an estimated 20.7% of people aged older than 12 used a nicotine product within the last month. Nicotine remains one of the most deadly and addictive substances in the United States, with over 16million Americans reporting to live with a disease caused by smoking cigarettes, and contributing to an estimated 480,000 deaths per year, making nicotine the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
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We hope you found this information helpful and hope that this made you aware of the most addictive substances in America. If you or a loved one needs any additional assistance with addiction treatment services, please reach out to Long Island Center for Recovery at 800-344-5427, and we’d be happy to assist you or your loved ones in any way possible.


SAMHSA: Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs

NIH: Alcohol Effects On Health,physical%20inactivity%2C%20and%20illegal%20drugs

American Addiction Centers: 5 Most Addictive Drugs

*NCDAS: Drug Abuse Statistics


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