All around the Sunflower State, drugs are taking their toll. In some cases, abuse even leads to death, taking someone from their friends and family. In 2018, over 300 Kansans died from a drug overdose.

If you know what’s out there, you can be better prepared to protect yourself, your family and those you love. Here you can read up on the 7 most used drugs in Kansas to stay ahead of the crisis.

#1. Alcohol

Even though it’s not illegal, alcohol may be the biggest part of Kansas’s substance abuse problem. In fact, 884,000 Kansans were at risk for binge drinking in 2010. That’s almost a third of the population.

Alcohol is bad for your body, but that’s not all. Alcohol abuse can lead to addiction, hurt relationships and lead to deadly behaviors like drunk driving. From 2003-2012, 1,214 people died in Kansas because of drunk driving.

#2. Marijuana

Marijuana is one of the most abused drugs in Kansas. People often begin abusing it when they’re teenagers, and that can lead to problems with the police or difficulties in school. To get the full picture, take a look at these statistics:

  • In Kansas, about half of rehab check-ins are for marijuana. 
  • On average, 122,000 Kansans use marijuana every year.
  • In 2017, 26% of Kansas teenagers said they’d used marijuana.

#3. Heroin

Heroin is a dangerous kind of opioid. People start using it because it relieves pain and anxiety and causes a feeling of euphoria. However, the body gets used to the drug really fast, and people have to take more each time to get the same effects. Eventually they may have to take so much that they overdose and even die.

Look at how this drug affects Kansas:

  • 2016: heroin killed 36 people.
  • 2016: more than 75 people went to the hospital because of heroin.
  • 2017: police sent 615% more heroin samples for testing than they did in 2012.  

#4. Prescription Opioids

Prescription drugs are a big part of America’s opioid crisis. In Kansas this is especially true. Around 108,000 people abuse pain relievers every year. The high rate of prescriptions are one of the causes. In 2017, Kansas doctors gave out 69.8 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people, which is more than the national average.

With so many prescriptions out there, it’s easy for people to use them for nonmedical reasons. In fact, 15,000 Kansas teenagers abuse prescription opioids each year. Since they’re so addictive, they can lead to crime, overdose and even death.

#5. Synthetic Opioids

These dangerous drugs are the third part of the American opioid problem. They are cheap to make and easier to ship.

Fentanyl is the worst offender. It’s really powerful, and even a small amount can cause an overdose. Plus, it’s cheap and dealers like to cut other drugs with it. As a result, deaths from this opioid are skyrocketing. In 2017, 32 people died because of an overdose on synthetic opioids.

#6. Methamphetamine

Over the past twenty years, this drug has slowly been replacing cocaine in rural America. Kansas is a very rural state, so it’s suffered a lot from methamphetamine abuse. Sometimes it comes from Mexico or the US Southwest, but more Kansans have started making it themselves.

These scary numbers show how meth is harming Kansas:

  • 2011: police found 202 meth labs.
  • 2012: police found 48% more labs than they did in 2007.
  • Around 25% of rehab check-ins are for meth.

#7. Cocaine

Fortunately, cocaine use has been going down in Kansas just like the rest of the country. Unfortunately, it’s still a major part of the state’s drug abuse problem. It’s a dangerous stimulant that increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, so any use is bad for Kansas’s public health.

Here are the details:

  • 2011: over 10% of Kansas rehab check-ins were for cocaine.
  • On average, 36,000 Kansans use cocaine every year.
  • From 2009-2010, 2,000 Kansans aged 12-17 said they’d used cocaine.

Get Treatment for Substance Abuse in Kansas

Join the many Kansans taking a stand against this problem. If you or someone you love is suffering from drug abuse, it’s never too late. Call your nearest treatment center to learn about your options.


  1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Sobering Facts: Drunk Driving in Kansas
  2. Department of Health and Human Services. (2019, May 1). Kansas Adolescent Substance Abuse Facts
  3. Executive Office of the President of the United States. (n.d.). Kansas State Profile
  4. Potter, T. (2019, February 8). While meth is still king, dangerous opioid drugs are on the rise, KBI agents say
  5. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (n.d.)

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