These 10 Substances Cause the Most Addictions in America

Whether trying to help an addicted family member or struggling to overcome your own substance use disorder, it’s essential to know that addiction is not a single disease. Addiction is a multifaceted illness, one that can strike anyone, no matter their age, gender, background, or financial circumstances.

If you want to be of help to someone who is suffering from addiction, whether a loved one or yourself,  it’s vital to have all the facts. Educating yourself can make everything that follows, from knowing which drugs are the most abused to seeking quality drug treatment and supporting the recovery process, a lot easier. With that in mind, here’s a look at the 10 most common addictions in America today.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today at 877.969.1993 to learn how we can help.


The most commonly abused drug in America remains perfectly legal, but that does not make it any less dangerous. Tobacco may be available over the convenience store counter, but it is still responsible for millions of deaths worldwide, untold numbers of cancer diagnoses, and other illnesses.


The second most common addiction in America also involves a legal substance, in this case, alcohol. As with tobacco, alcohol’s legal status does not mean it is not highly dangerous. Indeed, alcohol is responsible for countless car crashes, family breakups, spousal and child abuse incidents, lost workplace productivity, and many other health issues, including cancer.


Number three on the list of American addictions is a drug currently walking the fine line between legal and illicit. Marijuana has been legalized for medicinal use in many states and for recreational use in some others. But the growing acceptance of marijuana does not mean the drug is not addictive; dependencies to this substance can and do, happen all the time.


Chronic pain is a big problem in America, but the same drugs used to treat that pain can create even more significant issues. Opioid painkillers are highly addictive, potentially dangerous, and responsible for not only prescription addictions but dependence on other forms of opioids, including heroin.


It may have lost ground since the heyday of the 1980s, but cocaine is still widely abused and responsible for more than half a million addictions in the United States. Whether it comes in powder form, crack cocaine, or injectable form, cocaine is a hazardous and addictive drug.


The rise of heroin abuse and addiction is directly tied to the opioid epidemic. Many people who find themselves addicted to prescription drugs turn to heroin when they can no longer obtain their legally prescribed medication. But the use of heroin predates the opioid epidemic, and this dangerous and potentially deadly drug will be around long after that epidemic has passed.


Like prescription painkillers, benzodiazepines have legitimate medical uses. And like prescription painkillers, benzodiazepines have a high potential for addiction, snaring hundreds of thousands of Americans in its grip.


Whether they are used to lose weight, stay awake or pull an all-nighter in college, stimulants are dangerous, and their highly addictive nature has earned them an unwanted spot on the list of top 10 addictions.


Some drugs are hard to get, requiring a dealer or a prescription. Inhalants on the other hand are literally found in every American home, making them especially dangerous for teenagers, young people, and the merely curious. The use of inhalants, including spray paint, bug spray, and even whipped cream canisters, is a significant problem in the United States. The misuse of these household substances often goes unnoticed until it is too late.


The use of sedatives is also sadly commonplace in the United States, and like other addictive drugs, the misuse of these substances can be deadly. Sedatives work to depress the central nervous system, raising the risk of a fatal overdose and making these drugs quite risky. Whether they’re purchased illegally on the street or prescribed by a physician, sedatives are easy to abuse and they’re responsible for more than 75,000 addictions in the United States alone.

How to Find Help to Fight Addiction

The more you know about drug addiction and its consequences, the easier it will be to find the help you need. If you believe that a family member is addicted to any of these drugs, you owe it to yourself and to them to seek professional help right away.

At WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab, we specialize in all kinds of addictions, and we have the training, the talent, and the strong desire to set addicts on the road to lasting recovery. No matter what substances you may have been struggling with, we have a network of locations throughout Florida, and we are just a phone call away. Please take the initial step and contact us to begin your personal journey to recovery.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

Jackie has been involved in the substance abuse and addiction treatment sector for over five years and this is something that she is truly eager about. She has a passion for writing and continuously works to create informative pieces that not only educate and inform the public about the disease of addiction but also provide solutions for those who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.