What’s the most used illegal drug in the Northeast?

Regional News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Out of cocaine, heroin, LSD, and a host of other federally illegal drugs, marijuana is the most used in the Northeast. The use of marijuana far surpasses all other federally illegal drugs in the Northeast as well as the nation, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Although legalized in many Northeast states including New York, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Jersey as well as many states in other regions, recreational marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

The NIDA has been tracking drug use since 1975 and using information gathered from people of all ages to produce reports and keep a watch over trends. A shift in how young adults feel about marijuana use has come along with states increasingly legalizing weed, according to a NIDA report released in July.

The report has 17 drug categories. Excluding the category for “any illicit drug” and “any illicit drug (not marijuana)”, marijuana use in the last 30 days among 19-30-year-olds in the Northeast is 28.6%, higher than the national percentage of 26.8%.

No other drug comes close to either the Northeastern or the national average. The second most used illegal drugs in the Northeast are cocaine and hallucinogens, tied at 1.6%. Nationally, the second most used illicit drug are hallucinogens (2.4%) and the third most used is cocaine (1.4%).

Despite reports both nationally and locally about the increase of opioid overdoses during 2020, the use of narcotics, heroin, and crack remains less than 1% nationally and in the Northeast.

Check out the table below to compare drug use in the past 30 days for the Northeast region and all regions (Northeast, Midwest, South, West) combined.

Drug categoryNortheastAll regions
Any illicit drug28.1%28.3%
Any illicit drug (not marijuana)5.8%7.8%
Marijuana28.6%26.8%
Inhalants.3%.4%
Hallucinogens1.6%2.4%
LSD1.3%1%
Hallucinogens (not LSD).5%1.6%
MDMA (Ecstasy, Molly)1%1%
Cocaine1.6%1.9%
CrackN/A.2%
Other cocaine.3%1.2%
Heroin.2%.2%
Heroin (with needle).3%.1%
Heroin (without needle).3%.2%
Narcotics (not heroin).5%.9%
Amphetamines1.3%2%
MethamphetaminesN/A.2%
Source: NIDA

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