A new report details the extent of Americans’ drug consumption, which are the narcotics of choice, which states’ residents spend the most to get the drugs and what some people are willing to do to get them.
The report, published and funded by drug-counseling organization Addictions.com, comes at a time as more states legalize marijuana and local officials weigh the costs of legalization to their communities.
A data scientist conducted the study by polling 1,000 drug users across the United States and compiling data based on their state, substance of choice and educational background.
Marijuana is the drug of choice, making up more than 70% of all drug use among those polled, followed by cocaine at 6.5%. Cocaine users spent the most money on their drug, around $83 a day, followed by heroin users ($51.60 per day). Marijuana users spend $25 a day on weed.
Alaskans spend a daily average of $384 on drugs, nearly five times the average of other states. Experts attribute this to a surging use of heroin in that state.
Other states were daily drug spending is high are Ohio ($77.50), West Virginia ($55.00), Alabama ($54.90) and Indiana ($51.00). A surge in the use of opioids is a major factor in the increase in drug spending. On the lower side, drug users in Nebraska and Idaho spend 50 cents a day, followed by Mississippi ($2.50) and North Dakota and New Mexico ($5.00).
Researchers claim that those who become addicted to cocaine could spend more than $16,000 over their lifetime on the drug. Users of ecstasy would spend $14,209 over their lifetime, the second-highest total. The report also found that college graduates are the most likely to turn to sex work to bankroll their drug habit.
Those in the study between the ages of 30 and 39 spend the most per day on their drug habit of any age cohort, $39.74 a day. Also, those with a graduate degree spend the most per day on drugs, $65.65.
Drug dependence has divisive repercussions for the families of drug abusers. More than 38% of users of hallucinogenic mushrooms said they stole money from family members to support their drug use, followed by users of crack cocaine (33.0%), ecstasy (28.6%) and cocaine (28.0%)
Experts are concerned that with more states legalizing cannabis for recreational and medical use, the numbers for addiction will increase as the drug becomes more acceptable to use.
Medical and recreational use of marijuana is legal in Massachusetts, Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, California and Maine. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia restrict marijuana for medical use only.
Opioid use has become a scourge in communities across the nation, with abuse of prescription opiates, including hydrocodone, oxycodone and fentanyl, responsible for nearly half of U.S. opioid-related deaths.