Wyoming is the least populated state in the country, but this state’s rural culture does not stop its residents from using drugs. Based on admission data from treatment centers, the most used drugs in Wyoming are marijuana, stimulants, prescription opiates, heroin, and cocaine. Keep reading to learn more about these substances in Wyoming. 

1. Marijuana

Over the last 10 years, the number of marijuana arrests in Wyoming has increased, but the amount seized has remained the same. This indicates police are arresting people with smaller amounts of marijuana.

Medical and recreational marijuana are illegal in Wyoming, but both are legal over the state border in Colorado. Look at these stories to get a sense of the issue:

  • In 2009, marijuana from Colorado was involved in 18% of incidents in Wyoming. By 2015, that number had jumped to 46%.
  • Research suggests that counties bordering Colorado and Washington had a 30% increase in marijuana arrests after these states legalized marijuana.
  • Possession of more than 3 ounces is a felony in Wyoming. You can face up to a $10,000 fine and 5 years in jail.

2. Stimulants

Stimulants include meth but also prescription drugs such as adderall or ritalin. Commonly prescribed for children or teens with ADHD, these drugs are also taken by adults. Often, people use these drugs to boost focus and productivity, but as they build tolerance, they increase their dosage and potentially become addicted. 

Many people also use these drugs recreationally, and they often buy them illegally from people with prescriptions. In contrast, when meth enters Wyoming, it tends to come from traffickers in other states. Check out these recent arrests:

  • After police stopped a driver on I-25 for speeding, they found 5 pounds of meth in his vehicle. He was driving through Wyoming to take drugs from Colorado to Montana.
  • When they stopped a tow truck driver on I-80, police found 50 pounds of heroin, fentanyl, meth, and cocaine in a hidden compartment in the sedan on his truck. He was linked to a stash house in California where officials found over 100 pounds of drugs.
  • Two people from California were caught with 22 pounds of meth in Wyoming. One person received a 10 year 11 month sentence, while the other faces 7 years in prison.

3. Prescription Opiates

Like people throughout the rest of the country, Wyoming residents also struggle with prescription opiates. However, while overdose deaths are increasing nationwide, they are staying steady in Wyoming.

Look at these facts about prescription opiate use in Wyoming:

  • 3 to 5% of Wyoming residents report using prescription pain pills recreationally
  • 7% of Wyoming adults have misused prescription drugs in their lifetime. 
  • 18 to 25 year olds use these drugs at the highest rates. 
  • In Wyoming, there are 7.3 deaths from opioid overdoses for every 100,000 people. Nationwide, there are 10.4 deaths for every 100,000 people. 
  • In Uintah County, doctors write an average of 1,075 pain pill prescriptions for every 1,000 people. There are more prescriptions than people in this county. 
  • 4% of 12 to 17 year olds in Wyoming have used prescription pain pills. 

4. Heroin

Heroin also presents an issue in Wyoming. While some people turn to heroin after getting addicted to prescription opiates, others try heroin after experimenting with other drugs. In fact, 34% of people who use opioids also use meth, and this trend is growing in western states like Wyoming.

Look at these news stories about heroin in Wyoming:

  • After causing the death of a woman by injecting her with heroin, a Wyoming man faces 12 to 16 years in prison.
  • A woman who had a felony warrant for failing to appear on a heroin charge drove the wrong direction down a one-way street and then ran from the police. When they caught her, they found four heroin syringes in her car.
  • Carfentanil is 5,000 times stronger than heroin, and in 2018, this drug caused 3 deaths in Casper in a single week.

5. Cocaine

Cocaine is not new in Wyoming. An article published in an Aspen newspaper in 1909 suggests that the drug was popular in the state over 100 years ago. At that time, cocaine was prescribed by doctors to cowboys and ranchers, and it caused an uptick in crime. 

Now, the state takes cocaine possession very seriously. Look at these stories:

  • A man caught with felony levels of cocaine, meth, and heroin faces up to 15 years in federal prison.
  • The chief judge of the Wind River Indian Reservation tribal court faces up to 40 years in prison for distributing cocaine and oxycodone.
  • After getting caught with 7.2 grams of cocaine in his sock, a man faces up to 28 years in prison. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with drugs or alcohol, you are not alone, and there is help available. To learn about recovery options in Wyoming, contact a rehab center in your local area. 


  1. Breathes, W. (2019, January 23). Cannabis time capsule 1909: Wyoming is full of “coke heads”
  2. McCammon, S. (2018, March 15). A new documentary about adults on adderall ? And not just for ADHD
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, May 22). Wyoming opioid summary
  4. Stein, P. (2018, September 12). Colorado pot finds its way to northeast Wyoming
  5. Telling the story of opioid use in Wyoming. (n.d.)
  6. Wyoming adolescent substance abuse facts. (2019, May 1)
  7. Wyoming drug control update. (n.d.)

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