You might think of Maine primarily as the home of horror author Stephen King. Unfortunately, the real-life horror story of substance abuse plays out in Maine homes every day.

Despite the aging population in Maine, the state saw approximately 9000 admissions for substance abuse treatment in 2018. A small, but welcome decrease from the over 10,000 admissions in 2014.

The following are the five drugs abused most often in Maine:

#1 Alcohol

The most commonly abused drug by far in Maine is alcohol. Alcohol accounts for nearly 40% of all substance abuse treatment admissions across the state. Although this number is down slightly since 2014.

Sobering facts about alcohol abuse in Maine:

  • 50 alcohol-related car accident fatalities in 2017
  • 5835 arrests for driving under the influence in 2017

#2 Marijuana

Marijuana use has seen a steady increase in Maine since 2012 across all age groups. Adults between the ages of 18 and 26 showed the highest rate of use at 34%. The total percentage of adults over 26 is substantially lower at 14% but shows a dramatic increase since 2012.

The reasons for the increase in the adult groups, as opposed to the slight decrease among high school students, isn’t entirely clear. Although, it likely stems from the successful legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes in Maine.

#3 Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug abuse or misuse plagues Maine much as it plagues other states. The simple ease of accessing prescriptions at home or the homes of relatives makes it challenging to police.

The highest rate of prescription drug abuse or misuse happens in the 18 to 26 age bracket at around 7%. High school students come in at 6%, while only 4% of adults over 26 abuse prescriptions.

The relatively low level of prescription drug abuse among adults may be a result of Maine’s Prescription Drug Monitoring program.

#4 Cocaine

One of the most destructive drugs out there, cocaine use among Maine residents over 26 remains comparatively steady and low at around 1%. The news isn’t as good in the 18-25 age group where cocaine use has increased around 1.6% over the last few years and hovers a little under 7%.

Maine’s Drug Enforcement Agency reports that cocaine arrests account for nearly 1/3 of all arrests in 2018. This suggests a recent surge in cocaine sales and use in the state.

#5 Inhalants

One of the most troubling trends in Maine is the use of inhalants among high school students. Unlike other legal and illegal drugs, inhalants are common products that make vapors that produce a fast high. A few common products include:

  • Shoe polish
  • Paint solvents
  • Spray paint
  • Glue
  • Gasoline

Inhalants are especially dangerous because they can cause long-term damage to the brain or nervous system. How fast that damage happens depends on the inhalant.

Around 7% of high school students report using inhalants.

What About Opioids?

While Maine does show an above-average number of deaths from opioid use, less than 1% of Maine residents abuse opioids.

Get Substance Abuse Treatment in Maine

Don’t let addiction be the final word on your life. Contact Rehab Adviser and discover how they can help get you on the road to recovery.


  1. Substance Abuse Trends in Maine State Epidemiological Profile 2019
  2. Substance Abuse Trends in Maine State Epidemiological Profile 2015
  3. Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility: State Map – Maine
  4. Illinois just became the first state to legalize marijuana sales through the legislature – here are all the states where marijuana is legal <>
  5. Maine’s Prescription Monitoring Program <>
  6. Cocaine’s comeback: Maine drug arrest data shows increase in cocaine cases <

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