In 2014, Idaho became a high-intensity drug trafficking area. Ada and Canyon counties are hubs for regional distribution. This has contributed to the opioid epidemic in the Gem State. In 2017, 14.4% of deaths in the state were overdoses which were, in large part, the result of opioids. In recent years, the rate of drug overdose deaths in Idaho has stayed at the same level.

These are the top five drugs abused in Idaho:

#1 Marijuana

In 2014, cannabis was the drug Idahoans were most addicted to. This is in spite of the fact that cannabis is illegal in Idaho. That year, the drug was the primary reason for close to half of treatment admissions.

And youth consumption is a particular problem. In 2017, about 30% of high school students responding to a CDC survey reported cannabis use. This is worrying because cannabis can have a negative impact on the developing brains of teenagers.

#2 Prescription Opiates

A quarter of the population in Idaho is Mormon. Mormonism is a lifestyle known for healthy living. But the community didn’t predict the effect doctor-prescribed prescription pills would have.

Here are some facts about prescription opiates in Idaho.

  • Going back a decade, Idaho had a drug problem. It was one of the top ten states with past year misuse of pain relievers. Non-medical use included children aged 12 and older.
  • In 2015, 17% of high school respondents to a survey reported using prescription drugs. And they did not have a prescription.
  • Idaho’s prescribing rate is higher than the national average too. And this has been the case for the last ten years or so. Shoshone is a county with notable over-prescription.

#3 Illicit Opioids

When pills became less accessible, people turned to heroin. Users can find heroin within minutes of seeking it out in Treasure Valley. Consider the following facts:

  • Between 2014 and 2015, heroin trafficking increased by 800% across the state.
  • The drug caused 24 overdose deaths in 2017.
  • Fentanyl caused 28 deaths in the same year.
  • In 2016, state laws changed to enable ease of access to naloxone so more lives could be saved.

Some Idaho counties have high drug poisoning death rates. These exceed the national average:

  • Bannock
  • Bear Lake
  • Benewah
  • Boise
  • Bonneville
  • Boundary
  • Caribou
  • Custer
  • Lemhi
  • Lewis
  • Shoshone

#4 Stimulants

Meth use was a problem in Idaho in the early 2000s. And not much has changed since then. The drug is cheap and easy to make which makes it accessible in rural America. Prevention programs like the Idaho Meth Project have lowered use.

But the drug continues to plague local communities. It contributes to criminal activity and users fill local prisons. Headlines about meth busts are not uncommon in Idaho news outlets.

Check out these statistics:

  • In 2012, drug treatment admissions for stimulants including meth were 39%. This accounts for a large proportion of patient intake.
  • In 2013 in Kootenai County, the DEA listed 12 contaminated meth lab sites.
  • Student experimentation with meth was down from 6.4% in 2007 to 2.3% in 2015.
  • In 2017, inmates with a meth problem cost Idaho $88 million over two years.
  • Meth and Ecstasy were responsible for 54 overdose deaths in Idaho in 2017.

Cocaine has become more of an issue than it used to be in Idaho. This is, in part, due to lower prices. But the drug remains less problematic than in neighboring Oregon.

#5 Alcohol

Binge drinking is a nationwide problem.

  • The excessive drinking rate in Boise in 2015 was 19.5%. And drunk driving was responsible for 40% of road traffic fatalities.
  • Alcohol was linked to a quarter of road traffic deaths in Bonneville County in 2015.
  • In Idaho in 2017, 15% of high school respondents to a CDC survey reported binge drinking the previous month.
  • 2% of adolescent respondents to a 2016 survey indicated another problem. They needed treatment for alcohol use but were not receiving it.

Get Treatment for Substance Abuse in Idaho

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, help is available. Health experts can assist you to detox in the best possible way. Treatment includes therapy which provides tools to deal with triggers. And counseling addresses any underlying reasons for substance misuse. Treatment can include medication where a dual diagnosis is concerned.

Contact Rehab Adviser near you today. It’s the first step towards a more healthy, happy life.


  1. Dimon, L. (2014). Which Drug Is Your State Most Addicted to? This Map Reveals a Disturbing Trend. Retrieved 10 January 2020, from
  2. KBOI Staff. (2016). Heroin trafficking increases 800 percent statewide, found in Boise ‘within minutes’. Retrieved 10 January 2020, from
  3. Sarton, D. (2017). Meth addiction still plagues Idaho. Retrieved 10 January 2020, from
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2019). Idaho Adolescent Substance Abuse Facts. Retrieved 10 January 2020, from
  5. Yellin, T. (2013). Do you live near a meth lab?. Retrieved 10 January 2020, from

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