A man in America smokes marijuana as a drug

Every year in America, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA for short) conducts a national survey on drug use in the country.

This survey, known as the National Survey on Drug Use and Health provides insight into the most popular drugs in America and a picture of addition in the nation. In total, nearly 51.8 million American’s used at least one type of illicit drug in the year 2017. (1)

Here we take a look at a list of the most commonly used drugs in America, arranged from the most popular to the least popular.

Marijuana (40.9 million)

Marijuana remained the most popular illicit drug used by Americans in the year 2017. Not A pile of pills next to a marijuana plant leafsurprisingly, several states have either passed legislation legalizing the drug or are in the process of doing so.

Prescription Painkillers (11 million)

Prescription painkillers, such as Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, and countless others, have been largely credited with starting the Opioid Epidemic. Prescription painkillers remained one of the most popular drugs of abuse in America.

Prescription Tranquilizers (5.9 million)

Prescription tranquilizers include benzodiazepines (such as Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, etc) which together account for some of the most commonly prescribed medications in the country. (2)

True Recovery


Cocaine (5.9 million)

Cocaine has been one of the most popular drugs of abuse in America since the late 1970’s. This number includes crack cocaine users, which was reported to be as many as 930,000 people.

Prescription Stimulants (5.8 million)

Prescription stimulants, such as Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse, and others, are commonly prescribed for attention deficit disorders. Unfortunately, these drugs are also very commonly abused illicitly.

Ecstasy/MDMA (2.5 million)

Ecstasy, also known as MDMA, molly, and other nicknames is a commonly used hallucinogenic stimulant that remains extremely popular in the club and dance scenes in America.

LSD (2.2 million)

LSD, also known as acid, first became popular in America in the 1960’s and has remained the most commonly used psychedelic drug in the country today.

Inhalants (1.8 million)

Inhalants refers to a class of drug that is inhaled by the user for effects, such as nitrous oxide, amyl nitrate, ether, and various household chemicals.

Methamphetamine (1.6 million)

Methamphetamine, also known as meth or crystal meth, is a strong central nervous system stimulant that has disastrous effects on the user’s health and is highly addictive. Methamphetamine typically tears apart both families and communities in which it is used.

Heroin (886,000)

Heroin has saw a resurgence of use in the past decade due to the ongoing Opioid Epidemic, and along with fentanyl is responsible for the most drug overdose deaths in the year 2017. (3)

PCP (96,000)

Phencyclidine (PCP) is a psychedelic dissociative drug that remains popular across the nation. PCP is also known as wet, angel dust, and other street names.

Final Note

This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.


  1. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/cbhsq-reports/NSDUHDetailedTabs2017/NSDUHDetailedTabs2017.htm#tab1-1A
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26890165
  3. https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates