Most Addictive Drug Among Various Populations
Depending on the population, different drugs may be abused at different rates. This is partly due to the availability of the substance. Another factor is psychosocial issues, such as stress from unemployment, that may drive some to rely on substances. Additional factors can include the legality of certain substances, social acceptance and cost.
Around the World
Alcohol is the most commonly used substance in the world, with more than 82% of one study’s respondents reporting past-year use. Meanwhile, marijuana is the most commonly used drug in the world.
In the United States
Among adults with addiction, alcohol is the most common substance that is abused. One study found that 68% of people with a substance use disorder struggled only with alcohol. In fact, only 9.1% of people had an addiction that did not involve alcohol.
Despite the prevalence of alcohol use, Gulf Coast experts consider methamphetamine (followed by opioids) as the greatest drug threat in the region due to violent crime, availability and overdose threats. However, teens may be more at risk from alcohol and tobacco. In Florida, the most common substance used by teens is alcohol, with 27.5% of 12th-grade students reporting drinking in the past 30 days. This is followed by marijuana, with more than 20.2% of 12th-grade students using it in the past month.
Among the Genders
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in both men and women. Men and women are equally likely to develop a substance abuse disorder. However, men are more likely than women to use, abuse and overdose on almost all illicit substances. Further, women may be more likely to have drug cravings and relapse into substance use after quitting.
Among Various Age Groups
Among adolescents who seek help for addiction, marijuana and alcohol account for up to 89% of substance use. Similarly, alcohol abuse is common in adults, with 24.2% of adults saying they engaged in binge drinking within the previous month. Although seniors are less likely to struggle with addiction than younger adults, they may be prescribed controlled substances at a higher rate.
Among Socioeconomic Classes
Those who seek treatment only for alcohol use are more likely to be employed than people who struggle with multiple substances. However, the use of both illicit and legal substances often increases during unemployment and in times of economic stress.
Among Rural and Urban Environments
Heroin is considered to be one of the greatest threats in urban environments across the United States, including in the Gulf Coast region. Besides heroin, overdoses from cocaine and synthetic opioids like fentanyl also outpace rural areas. In rural areas, however, overdoses from stimulants like methamphetamine and natural opioids like morphine are more common.
In Human History
Many different addictive substances have been used throughout human history. Amanita muscaria, a type of mushroom, is one of the earliest — the substance was used around 10,000 years ago. Opiates, one of the most common addictive substances even today, have been used for around 6,000 years. Cannabis and alcohol have also been used for more than 1,000 years and are still commonly abused substances today.