The most popular drugs in the United States is somewhat of a moving target. For a country as large, populous and diverse as ours, the popularity of any drug depends to a large extent upon where a person lives, their socio-economic level, and with whom they associate, i.e. hang out with.  The 5 most popular drugs in the U.S. vary in cost and effects, but they all are widely consumed the U.S. population.

And yet, there are drugs that cross over social and economic borders. Illicit substances such as heroin and prescription painkillers have for some time affected the wealthy as well as the marginalized in our country.

Meanwhile, the use of other drugs – alcohol in particular – seems to have flat lined with a large segment of young people, particularly those who have grown up in the marijuana or hallucinogenic drug culture. They would much rather smoke dope or take ecstasy than have a Bloody Mary.

Regardless of what’s hot and what’s not in the way of drug fashion, the big reveal is drug use is still a popular predilection in the U.S. The faces of drug use have not changed, nor have the stresses, injuries and curiosities that lead to drug use. The drug culture remains strong in our country year after year.



According to a U.S. News and World Report article, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have determined that opioid abuse continues as the number one agent of drug-related death in America.

With that, there’s little wonder why opioids rank near the top of the most popular drugs list. But they aren’t the top drug. With no furthur ado, here are the 5 most popular drugs in the U.S.:


Weed will most probably never leave its station as the number one most popular drug in the U.S. This is due to factors, such as cost – marijuana is still a relatively inexpensive drug; availability – marijuana is easy to acquire through dispensaries which seem to crop up like Starbucks.

Other factors include growing cries to de-schedule weed, which means marijuana is taken off the list of illegal drugs, and increasingly regulated on a state-by-state basis.

Lastly, marijuana is safer than other drugs on this list. It is not addictive and cannot be overdosed on.

All of these points have helped marijuana to rise to, and stay at the top of the most popular drug list.

2.     HEROIN

Heroin makes for a tragic story in America. Most of that tragedy originates with ordinary people who become heroin addicts due to previously taking prescription painkillers like OxyContin and hydrocodone. In a sense, one opioid has hooked them onto another more dangerous opioid, which in this case is heroin. This is in part why we as a country are experiencing an opioid epidemic.

Cognizant of this ongoing epidemic, doctors have recently begun to shorten the length of time their patients are on prescription painkillers.

As well, alternative pain treatment programs have begun to take root which eliminate opioids altogether. Many of these programs involve marijuana treatment, exercise and other forms of therapy in order to avoid opioids.

3.     COCAINE

The world moves fast. And at some point, we may feel we need something more stimulating than a cup of coffee to keep up the pace. Naturally, some of us may gravitate to cocaine for that additional boost.

Cocaine is an old drug. It’s been in use as a stimulant for thousands of years by native tribes in South America. Throughout the Victorian era, cocaine was freely distributed to patients. Even babies were exposed to cocaine, particularly when they were teething.

Once called a rich man’s drug, cocaine can currently be found in virtually every economic and social level.

The cocaine high is very short lived, yet very intense. To continue that intensity, a user has to ingest increasing amounts of cocaine, which in the long run can cause brain damage as well as heart arrhythmias and other organ issues.

4.     ECSTASY

Ecstasy’s the sort of drug that would claim amphetamines as cousins. Fact is ecstasy is derived from amphetamines.

Ecstasy, which is also known as MDMA, began life as a psycho therapeutic drug. In short, the drug’s intent is to produce a euphoric high along with a feeling of well-being and great love.

This is why ecstasy is so popular among partiers and rave attendees who after taking the drug, feel great fondness for those around them.

Ecstasy is a drug teeming with irony. Whether taken orally or snorted, ecstasy’s inherent danger is that it mitigates danger, or at least fear, which warns us about pending threat.

Ecstasy tends to lower anxiety and replenish that feeling with happiness. This tends to leave the user open to risky behavior and events.

Other risks associated with ecstasy include dehydration and death or illness resulting from dehydration. There also is a risk of obtaining ecstasy from subpar labs or sketchy dealers.

Ecstasy is, of course, not regulated by a government or any other authority, so in the long run obtaining a bad batch of the drug is entirely possible.


The word amphetamine describes more a group of drugs than one particular drug.

Amphetamines are stimulants which raise the level of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. This rise in these chemicals induces feelings of euphoria. Additional sensations include intense mental focus and resilience against physical fatigue.

Need less to say, amphetamines have been put to good use by treating those with eating disorders (think of amphetamine as an appetite suppressant), and to mitigate some of the symptoms of ADHD, “speed” as the drug is known on the street even has a connection as a stimulant for soldiers.

Of course the reason amphetamines are called “speed,” has to do with the increased energy it gives its users.

Speed has gone on to spring a counter-culture in our country in which the drug has gained much of its popularity among the younger crowd at dance clubs and other social occasions.

Speed, once known as Benzedrine, was originally produced as an inhalant. It could be freely bought until the FDA took Benzedrine off the market in 1965.


Morphine, another opiate-derived painkiller, almost plays a dual role in today’s drug culture. Like many drugs, yes, morphine’s benefits fall by the wayside very quickly once the drug is abused. What differentiates morphine from heroin is morphine’s availability as a prescription painkiller, as well as being found in relative abundance on the street.

Recreationally, morphine gives an incredible high that is euphoric and relaxing. However, as a morphine abuser searches out that same euphoria with continued usage, addiction and dependency on the drug becomes a critical problem the addict will sooner than later need to face.

The dangers of morphine are many. But the most perilous side effect the drug produces are nausea, which when an addict vomits, he or she can easily choke on while in their condition.

Shallow respiration, in which a patient’s heart slows or even stops, is another risk factor from morphine.


If you feel you or a loved one has an issue with substance abuse, contact BLVD Treatment Centers. At BLVD Treatment Centers we custom tailor our recovery programs within the safe and nurturing confines of our rehab treatment centers. Located throughout California, in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and in Portland, OR, our mission is to assess the severity of your addiction to help you achieve true recovery within 30 days. Call us now at 1-866.582.9844.

5 most popular drugs in the u.s.

The 5 Most Popular Drugs in the U.S.