The most-used drugs in Connecticut send nearly 74,000 residents into treatment each year, according to the Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services (DMHAS). Despite the high number, it only represents a fraction of those in need. Less than 11% of people who require specialized substance abuse treatment receive it.

What’s behind these extreme figures? Check out the top five most-used drugs in Connecticut and get the stats below.

#1 Alcohol

Alcohol is the primary drug involved in nearly 35% of all Connecticut mental health and substance abuse treatment admissions according to DMHAS. That’s more than 29,000 people entering treatment for alcohol-related issues every year.

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) can have symptoms like cravings and wanting to cut back but being unable to. Continued consumption after issues like memory blackouts is an additional warning sign. Withdrawal symptoms, such as shakiness, sweating, restlessness, nausea, irritability, anxiety, and depression, are concerns too.

#2 Heroin

Opiates are the most-used drugs in Connecticut. Per the DMHAS report, opiates account for almost half of all substance abuse admissions in the state. This includes everything from morphine to methadone and oxycodone.

The street drug heroin accounts for over 43% of the total by itself. It’s the most common primary drug involved in substance abuse treatment admissions state officials say. However, it lags behind alcohol in terms of mental health treatment admissions, so it accounts for roughly 33% of total admissions. That’s 27,000 people admitted for heroin treatment each year.

The Constitution State ranks also ranks fourth in the nation for heroin-related drug overdose deaths according to a recent DEA report, but this isn’t based on sheer volume. Fentanyl is frequently slipped into heroin before it reaches the end-user, all too often with catastrophic results.

#3 Fentanyl

Fentanyl use is at an all-time high, but people rarely take it intentionally. Because it’s 80-100 times more potent than morphine, dealers and manufacturers secretly cut this synthetic opioid into other substances, such as heroin, to increase their strength.

In these cases, it’s impossible for someone to know whether they’re taking it or how much they’re receiving. Connecticut presently ranks ninth in the nation on the DEA’s list for fentanyl-related overdose deaths as a result.

Naloxone, a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose when given early, can help. Officials are actively placing it in the hands of first responders. It’s promoted as a lifesaving tool for users and those with loved ones who use are asked to carry it as well. Despite this, Fentanyl kills more than 19,000 Americans each year according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Abstinence from all street drugs is the only way to avoid it.

#4 Marijuana

Just over 10% of substance abuse admissions involve marijuana, hashish, or THC as the primary drug at admission. However, DMHAS says close to 20% of people who enter mental health treatment partake. This brings the combined total to more than 13% of admissions, which is slightly more than 11,000 people.

It’s worth noting that marijuana is one of the most-used drugs in Connecticut among high school students, with 34% of teens saying they’ve tried it. For comparison, 13% of students within the state try alcohol before age 13 and 30% drank in the month preceding the government survey.

#5 Cocaine

Until roughly 2010, cocaine use throughout the United States and cocaine-related deaths were dropping. Since then, new and regular users have begun climbing again and overdose rates are skyrocketing, but treatment rates remain in steady decline.

Experts aren’t entirely certain why the disparity exists nor why the shift occurred. Some argue that usage rates haven’t actually gone up, but that fentanyl is causing the uptick in deaths. However, another prevailing theory is that the earliest measurements picked up on early and light users who were not yet dependent. By their calculations, 150,000 of the 968,000 of those who started using cocaine in 2015 will become dependent before 2025.

In Connecticut, cocaine is the primary substance being used by nearly 6,000 people who enter treatment each year. DMHAS indicates it accounts for roughly 7% of admissions.

The Most-used Drugs in Connecticut: Beyond the Top 5

More than 3,000 people begin treatment each year for substances that don’t fall within the scope of the most-used drugs in Connecticut according to DMHAS. Although they are used with less frequency, they can be every bit as addictive and harmful as the others. The agency doesn’t break down the statistics for lesser-used substances, though a few substances DMHAS says contributes to the figure are outlined below.

  • Benzodiazepines
  • Methamphetamines, Amphetamines, and Other Stimulants
  • Hallucinogens
  • Non-Prescription Methadone and Other Sedatives
  • Hypnotics and Tranquilizers
  • Barbiturates
  • Inhalants
  • Tobacco

Get Help Now

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, be it to one of the most-used drugs in Connecticut or any other substance Getting matched with a specialized treatment provider who understands your needs and will support you through the recovery process is critical. Contact Rehab Adviser today to explore your options.


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