Social Sciences Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

Among the illegal drugs in the United States' drug market, which is the drug of choice?

Expert Answers info

Sarah Goodale eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write638 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

This is an interesting question at time of writing simply because marijuana (which would ordinarily be the most heavily used addictive substance) is now legal in about a quarter of the US states, which means that it cannot rightly be compared with the use of other substances that remain illegal. In fact, marijuana is in such a legal limbo right now that some states have legalized it, while some have only "de-criminalized" it (meaning that one can't go to jail for it). In other (generally more conservative) states, it remains illegal. It is important to remember that tobacco, alcohol, and painkillers also fall into the category of legal but addictive substances.

As for illegal substances, the prominent ones are cocaine, heroin, and illegal stimulates such as meth. Cocaine use has declined, but slowly. It is estimated that 821,000 Americans remain addicted to cocaine. This compares to an estimated 426,000 addicts addicted to heroin. Heroin use, unfortunately, has been on the rise, particularly among women. The problem with heroin is that its use can contribute to the spread of HIV because injecting it involves sharing needles. Finally, stimulates such as methamphetamines are estimated to have about 329,000 addicts; however, this number includes prescription drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial