Illegal Drug Facts & Statistics

In recent years, illegal drug statistics have shown that the use of these illicit substances in the United States has been increasing. According to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 24.6 million Americans had used illicit drugs in the month before the survey was conducted. Understanding the facts about illegal drugs is a key aspect of drug addiction prevention.

Illegal drug use statistics show that illicit drug use has increased by 8.3% since 2002. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug. Marijuana impairs coordination, disrupts learning and memory, and makes problem-solving difficult. Many teenagers use marijuana, and more than half of illicit drug users began their substance abuse with marijuana.

After marijuana, cocaine is the most heavily used drug. According to illegal drug facts and information collected in NSDUH research, there were 1.5 million cocaine users in the United States in 2014. Cocaine use has been dropping among the high school population, which is encouraging, but the substance is still used widely by adults. Hallucinogens rank as the next most widely used type of drug. LSD, ketamine, and PCP are the most common hallucinogens. Surveys collecting illegal drug facts show that hallucinogens are most popular among people between ages 18 and 25.

Drug Use Prevention

Drug addiction and abuse prevention rely on a few important factors and strategies. Education is an integral part of prevention. Understanding the facts on illegal drugs can open a person’s eyes to the dangers involved and better enable someone to help and support a loved one in rehab. It is also important for those with a mental health disorder to stay healthy and receive appropriate treatment and support. Co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders are quite common. In the case of teenagers and children, providing them with positive role models and places to spend time off the streets also goes a long way in preventing drug abuse. The facts about illegal drugs demonstrate that addiction is a disease experienced by many, but it doesn’t have to be.

Find a Rehab for Drug Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling with drug abuse or addiction, you are not alone. BetterAddictionCare can help you find cost-effective addiction counseling at a rehab near you. The accredited rehabs we work with can offer you a comfortable and safe environment with your best chance for long-term recovery. Call now or fill out our contact form to speak with our professional addiction care specialists. They will help you create a customized plan for recovery.


  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):
    • NIDA provides comprehensive information on drug abuse and addiction, including statistics, research findings, and resources on various illegal drugs.
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):
    • SAMHSA offers data and statistics related to substance abuse, including information on illicit drugs, treatment utilization, and behavioral health trends.
  3. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC):
    • UNODC is a global organization that provides data, reports, and analysis on illegal drugs, drug trafficking, and drug use worldwide.
  4. World Drug Report:
    • The World Drug Report, published annually by the UNODC, offers a comprehensive analysis of the global drug situation, including statistics on drug production, consumption, and trafficking.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
    • The CDC provides data and statistics on drug overdose deaths, including information on specific drugs involved and demographic patterns.
  6. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA):
    • EMCDDA collects and publishes data on drug use, drug markets, and drug-related issues in Europe, offering a wealth of information and statistical reports.
  7. National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH):
    • NSDUH, conducted by SAMHSA, is an annual survey that provides national-level data on substance use and mental health, including information on illegal drug use.
  8. Global Drug Survey:
    • The Global Drug Survey collects data on drug use patterns, trends, and experiences from a global sample, providing insights into various aspects of illegal drug use.
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