New Mexico is a state that is well-known for its beautiful deserts and snow-capped peaks. But if you spend enough time in the state, you will also find that some major issues exist with drug and alcohol abuse.

Some substances are abused more commonly than others in New Mexico. The state has particularly high rates of alcohol, heroin, and amphetamine use. Plus, New Mexico has some of the highest rates in the nation when it comes to teen drug abuse.

So, what are the top 5 most abused drugs in the state of New Mexico? Keep reading to find out.

#1: Heroin

As the opioid crisis sweeps across the nation, heroin abuse is on the rise. Why? Heroin offers opioid addicts a cheaper, more powerful and widely available option for getting high.

But heroin abuse comes with a big price. The drug is extremely hard on the body. Long-term abuse nearly always leads to major physical and mental health issues. Even if a heroin user somehow manages to escape major effects from the drug itself, the needles used to inject the drug can spread disease and cause vein issues.

Let’s check out the stats on heroin abuse in New Mexico:

  • 12% of all treatment admissions for the state in 2018 were due to heroin abuse.
  • Heroin overdose deaths in New Mexico have risen sharply since 2010, which was around the time the opioid crisis began. Since then, these deaths have risen from less than 25 in 2010 to 144 in 2017.
  • About 60% of the people who got treatment for heroin addiction in NM in 2018 were male.

#2: Alcohol

Alcohol abuse rates tend to be higher in areas that have more poverty. New Mexico has high rates of poverty, with a lot of people living a rural lifestyle and barely making ends meet. Unsurprisingly, the state also has high rates of alcohol abuse.

Alcohol, despite being legal, could easily be called the most deadly drug in America. Through long-term health problems, alcohol poisoning, and fatal car accidents, alcohol kills thousands of people every year.

Here are some alcohol-related stats for the state of New Mexico:

  • 35% of New Mexico’s 2018 treatment admissions were people who suffered from alcohol abuse.
  • Rates of alcohol-related deaths have been the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd-highest in the nation every year since 1981.
  • In 2017, NM had an alcohol-related death rate of nearly 70 deaths per 100,000 people – about twice the national average.

#3: Amphetamines

New Mexico is infamously the set location for the TV series, Breaking Bad – which is about a meth production operation. Unfortunately, there is a reason that New Mexico was chosen as the show’s location – meth has been a big problem in the area in the past two decades.

Let’s look at some meth stats for New Mexico:

  • 630 people sought treatment for meth abuse in New Mexico in 2018.
  • This news story recently reported that meth overdose deaths are on the rise in New Mexico.
  • More than 4% of NM high schoolers said they have used meth before in a recent survey. This is the 5th-highest rate in the country.

#4: Opioids

Heroin abuse may be the biggest problem in New Mexico right now, but other opioids are tied into that issue as well. Prescription and synthetic opioid abuse is a big problem in the state.

Let’s look at the stats for opioid abuse in New Mexico:

  • In total, prescription and synthetic opioids accounted for almost 250 overdose deaths in NM in 2017.
  • Synthetic opioid overdoses are on the rise mainly because of fentanyl – a powerful drug that is claiming thousands of lives across the country. Sometimes, fentanyl is sold as heroin, and users don’t know what they’re taking.

#5: Cocaine

Cocaine is similar to meth in that it is a stimulant and is highly addictive. While cocaine tends to be more expensive than meth, it still appears to be quite common in New Mexico. This drug can lead to dependence in the blink of an eye, and users tend to need treatment to recover.

Check out these cocaine-related stats for the state of New Mexico:

  • More than 150 people sought treatment for cocaine abuse in the state in 2018.
  • 8.8% of New Mexico teens report having used cocaine. This is the second-highest rate in the nation, trailing only Arizona.
  • About 60% of the people who got treatment for cocaine abuse in New Mexico were men.

Get Treatment for Drug Abuse In New Mexico

Are you suffering from drug or alcohol abuse? Fortunately, there are several treatment options available in the southwest. Professional treatment centers are well-equipped to help you tackle your substance abuse issues and get your life back on track.

If you or someone you love needs addiction help, call your local treatment center today.


  1. DASIS Quick Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  2. Deparment of Health. (2020, January 13). NM-IBIS – Health Indicator Report – Alcohol – Alcohol-Related Death. Retrieved from
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, March 30). New Mexico Opioid Summary. Retrieved from
  4. New Mexico sees a spike in overdose deaths fueled by methamphetamine. (2019, September 5). Retrieved from
  5. Olivier Uyttebrouck | Journal Staff Writer. (n.d.). New Mexico teens’ drug use among highest in nation. Retrieved from

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