Just like every other state in the US, Minnesota sees its fair share of addiction and substance abuse. With a population of over 5 million people, that amounts to a significant number of residents who use drugs. Furthermore, a 2016 study concluded that over 2% of the population had a drug use disorder.

In fact, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 6.97% of state residents have used illegal drugs. Additionally, 2.84% reported that they had used an illegal drug other than marijuana. Furthermore, the rate of fatal overdoses amongst users under 24 years old has tripled since the year 1999.

Interestingly, the state has a long history of drug and alcohol treatment centers. In fact, it claims to have more than any other state in the nation!

That being said, let’s take a look at the five most abused drugs in the state.


Marijuana has been decriminalized since the 1970s and legal for certain medical conditions since 2014. However, since it’s still not legal for recreational use, it remains the most commonly used illegal drug in the state.

That being said, let’s take a look at some related figures:

  1. Approximately 7.3% of residents over 12 years old used the drug in the past month.
  2. It remains the most commonly cited primary drug for admissions to treatment facilities.
  3. It is exceptionally popular with younger residents. For example, 22% of university students are users. This is a five percent increase since 2015.


There is currently an epidemic of these drugs sweeping the country, and this state is no exception. This includes prescription painkillers and “street drugs” like heroin.

Statistics on this epidemic are particularly grim, including figures like:

  1. Prescription painkillers account for 10% and street drugs account for over 13% of all admissions to treatment centers.
  2. There were 422 fatal overdoses and 2,037 non-fatal overdoses in 2017.
  3. Fatal overdoses increased 681% from 2000 to 2017.


In the late 1990s, the National Drug Intelligence Center widely considered cocaine and crack to be the greatest threats facing the state. Although this has decreased recently, they still pose a significant challenge to public health:

  1. They account for 44% of drug offenses in state prisons.
  2. 73% of those convicted are persons of color.
  3. They account for about 4% of treatment center admissions in 2019.


The state has had a long-running problem with meth. In fact, press coverage in 2019 stated that the sale and abuse of the drug has reached a stage of “crisis”.

Prescription medications used to treat ADHD are also frequently abused, especially amongst young people. For example, a 2016 report found that nearly 3% of high school students misused their medication in order to get high.

That being said, let’s take a look at some related statistics:

  1. It represents 43% of all drug offenses in state prisons.
  2. It accounted for approximately 9% of treatment center admissions in 2018.
  3. Law enforcement seized over 2 tons of the drug in 2018. This is over five times the amount seized in 2014.
  4. It was involved in over half of the 308 federal drug cases from 2013 to 2017.


Although the state has a comparably low rate of drug use, its alcohol intake is amongst the highest in the nation.

For example, a 2012 report concluded that about 60.7% of residents age 12 and above consumed alcohol in the past month. Furthermore, a 2016 analysis found that 5.5% of all adults in the state met the criteria for alcohol addiction.

In order to fully grasp the scope of the problem, let’s consider the following figures:

  1. It accounted for 44% of treatment center admissions in 2018.
  2. The estimated annual cost of alcohol abuse in the state was over $5 billion in 2007.
  3. According to the Department of Health in 2018, 20.3% of adults reported binge drinking. This is the highest rate in the country.
  4. A 2018 study concluded that 12% of pregnant women drank and 5% binge drank in the past month.
  5. In 2019, approximately 17% of high school students drank within the last 30 days.
  6. There were about 1,800 alcohol-related deaths each year from 2013 to 2017.

Get Help for Addiction Today

It’s important to remember that addiction is a disease. However, under the proper guidance with trained professionals, substance abuse can be successfully treated. This means that if you or a loved one is suffering from this condition, you don’t have to go on living that way. Contact your nearest treatment center today and start living a clean, sober, and happy life!


  1. Minnesota Department of Human Services (Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division). “Biennial Report to the Legislature”. January 2016. <https://mn.gov/dhs/assets/2016_drug_and_alcohol_abuse_in_minnesota_tcm1053-166258.pdf>
  2. Minnesota Department of Human Services (Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division). “Substance Abuse in Minnesota – An Epidemiological Profile.” 2018. <http://sumn.org/~/media/542/MNEpiProfile2018.pdf>
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999-2015.” NCHS Data Brief No. 273, February 2017. <https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db273.htm>
  4. Minnesota Star Tribune. “The State of Marijuana in Minnesota, According to Data.” March 11, 2019. <http://www.startribune.com/the-state-of-marijuana-in-minnesota-according-to-data/502090821/>
  5. Civilized. “Student Cannabis Consumption Hits an All-Time High at University of Minnesota.” <https://www.civilized.life/articles/cannabis-consumption-all-time-high-university-of-minnesota/>
  6. Minnesota Department of Human Services. “Minnesota State Substance Abuse Strategy.” <https://www.mndental.org/files/Minnesota-State-Substance-Abuse-Strategy.pdf>
  7. National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths.” Revised March 2019. <https://www.drugabuse.gov/opioid-summaries-by-state/minnesota-opioid-summary>
  8. National Drug Intelligence Center. “Minnesota Drug Threat Assessment.” August 2001. <https://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs0/678/cocaine.htm>
  9. National Survey on Drug Use and Health. “State Estimates of Past Year Cocaine Use among Young Adults: 2014 and 2015.” December 20, 2016. <https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_2736/ShortReport-2736.html>
  10. Minnesota Star Tribune. “Meth sales, abuse are reaching a ‘crisis’ stage in Minnesota.” May 24, 2019. <http://www.startribune.com/meth-sales-abuse-reaching-crisis-stage-in-minnesota/510411662/?refresh=true>
  11. Minnesota Star Tribune. “Meth seizures surge in Minnesota as treatment, research languish.” March 10, 2019. <http://www.startribune.com/meth-seizures-surge-in-minnesota-as-treatment-research-languish/506955062/?refresh=true>
  12. Minnesota Department of Health. “Excessive Alcohol Use in Minnesota.” <https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/alcohol/documents/excessivealcoholusedatabrief.pdf>
  13. Minnesota Department of Health. “Alcohol: Quick Facts.” <https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/alcohol/data/quickfacts.html>

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