Drug abuse is rampant in Arizona. In fact, in this state, more people die from drug abuse than from car accidents or firearms. Based on admissions to rehab programs, the most abused drugs in Arizona are stimulants, marijuana, heroin, other opiates, and crack cocaine.

Keep reading for more details on the five most used drugs for the state of Arizona.

1. Stimulants

Stimulants including meth increase activity in your nervous system. They create feelings of energy and excitement, but they can also be very addictive and even deadly. These drugs may cause heart attacks, over heating, and brain damage.

Meth is a huge problem in Arizona, especially along the border, but “study drugs” like Adderall are also an issue. Students with ADD or ADHD get prescriptions for these drugs. Then they sell unneeded pills to other people.

Look at these facts about stimulants in Arizona.

  • Production of “study drugs” doubled in the last 10 years.
  • 7% of ASU students use drugs like Adderall without a prescription.
  • Even students with prescriptions report negative side effects and addiction.
  • Meth coming over the Mexico-Arizona border doubled from 2016 to 2017.
  • Officials seized over $20 million worth of meth. 
  • Over 14,000 people went to the ER for meth in 2015.

2. Marijuana

Medical marijuana has been legal in this state since 2010, but recreational marijuana is still illegal. Almost 25% of people who go to rehab want help for marijuana. The problem affects teens in particular.

Check out these stats about marijuana use in 2018.

  • 193,000 residents have medical marijuana cards.
  • In 2018, dispensaries sold 56 tons of medical marijuana.
  • They also sold 5 tons of MMJ products.
  • Officials seized nearly 500,000kg of marijuana at the border.
  • 33% of teens in Arizona have tried weed.
  • 24% of teens have used concentrates.
  • In Arizona, teen girls are more likely to use weed than boys.

Although many people think marijuana is not addictive, they are wrong. This drug can cause dependency and withdrawal issues.

3. Heroin

In 2017, 344 people died from heroin overdoses in Arizona. This state saw a significant increase in deaths related to heroin and other opiates between 2016 and 2017.

To get a sense of the severity of the opioid crisis, look at what happened in Arizona between June 2017 and December 2019.

  • There were 3,768 suspected opioid deaths.
  • Every day, more than two people in Arizona died from opioids.
  • There were over 30,000 opioid overdoses.
  • Over 1,700 babies were born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.
  • Police and healthcare workers gave out over 65,000 naloxone doses.

4. Other Opiates

Most opioid users don’t start with heroin. Instead, they receive a prescription for opioid painkillers. Then, as their addiction grows and they can’t access more medication, they turn to street drugs.

Arizona doctors write 300,000 opioid prescriptions per month. Often, addicts have to turn to multiple doctors to get their pills. About 39% of people who overdose received prescriptions from at least 10 doctors in the last year.

Here are more startling facts about other opiates in Arizona.

  • The state ranks in the top 10 for recreational use of pain relievers by people over age 12.
  • Prescription and synthetic opioids caused 605 deaths in 2017.
  • In the first eight months of 2019, the DEA seized over 1 million fentanyl pills in Arizona.
  • In 2018, they seized 380,000 pills.
  • The pills are disguised to look like oxycodone.
  • Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine.
  • It’s involved in 59% of opioid deaths.

5. Cocaine/Crack

About 6% of people who enter rehab in Arizona are addicted to cocaine or crack. Like most of the drugs in Arizona, cocaine comes over the border from Mexico, and the state’s position makes it vulnerable to drug traffickers.

Check out these news stories about cocaine in Arizona.

In addition to these top five drugs in Arizona, people also struggle with addiction to alcohol and other substances. If you or a loved one needs help, reach out to a treatment center in your local area today. With the right help, you can move forward past drug abuse.  


  1. https://www.statepress.com/article/2017/11/spcampus-are-learning-stimulants-worth-the-benefits
  2. https://www.pinalcentral.com/arizona_news/dea-meth-not-opioids-top-threat-to-arizona/article_69e53534-08fd-59ea-9039-ec8a175587fe.html
  3. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/docs/state_profile-arizona.pdf
  4. https://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/consumers/2019/04/20/420-weed-day-marijuana-arizona-what-you-need-know/3508796002/
  5. https://www.aappublications.org/news/2019/08/26/cannabisconcentrate082619
  6. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-addictive
  7. https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-health/2018/08/13/opioid-heroin-deaths-continue-climb-arizona-despite-state-efforts/979180002/
  8. https://www.azdhs.gov/prevention/womens-childrens-health/injury-prevention/opioid-prevention/index.php
  9. https://www.dea.gov/press-releases/2019/08/22/dea-alerts-over-one-million-deadly-fentanyl-pills-seized-dea-phoenix-and
  10. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/fentanyl
  11. https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-health/2018/08/13/opioid-heroin-deaths-continue-climb-arizona-despite-state-efforts/979180002/
  12. https://tucson.com/news/local/fbi-arizona-border-patrol-agent-paid-smugglers-k-for-cocaine/article_b04b7558-1092-588a-ac05-89eadac4e191.html
  13. https://www.abc15.com/news/crime/police-seize-550-000-worth-of-cocaine-in-west-phoenix

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