Arizona is home to over 7 million people. Phoenix alone has a population of 1.6 million. It sits in the stunning southwestern part of the United States with natural beauty all around. Overall, the population of Arizona has been continually growing over the past 20 years, and for good reason.
Substance use, however, is present everywhere, no matter how idyllic a place may seem. In the United States as a whole, an average of 21% of people over the age of 12 have used illegal substances within the past year. How does Arizona compare? What are some of the Arizona drug problems we most need to address?
Substance use can start at any age and with any substance. SAMHSA, or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, regularly publishes reports and findings regarding substance use and its statistics across the United States. In a piece focusing on Arizona, they go into detail regarding youth and adults alike and SUDs. Here are some of their findings.
- 7.3% of youth aged 12-17 tried alcohol for the first time in the past year
- 3.5% of youth aged 12-17 tried marijuana for the first time in the past year
- 13.7% of young adults aged 18-25 reported having a substance use disorder in the past year
- 6.8% of people aged 12+ reported having a substance use disorder in the past year
They also looked into treatment centers to see what the primary focus was in that year.
- 42% of treatment was for only an illicit drug use disorder
- 16.3% of treatment was for only an alcohol use disorder
- 40.9% of treatment was for both illegal drugs and alcohol use
Now let’s take a closer look at some of the specific substances that are commonly found here in Arizona and what their numbers look like.
Stats in Arizona: Opioid Use Disorder and Fentanyl
There are three primary forms of opioids when it comes to substance use. There are just opioids, which is the general category of medication that can be prescribed to help reduce pain. Common medications include oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine. Fentanyl is another form of medical, synthetic opioid that can be used in severe pain situations, typically those who are dealing with cancer-related pains. Heroin falls into the category of illegal opioids with no medical purpose.
Fentanyl use and overdose have been on the rise across the United States due to the fact that it is cheap to make and is over 50x more powerful than the average opioid. Oftentimes, dealers will lace or cut their other substances with fentanyl to boost their profits while still giving their consumers a high. The problem with this? Due to its potent nature and the fact that people don’t normally know it’s in their substances, they can take their regular dose without realizing how much more powerful it will be. This often leads to and contributes to opioid-related overdoses.
- 1.2% of young adults aged 18-25 reported having an opioid use disorder in the past year
- 4.4% of people aged 12+ misused prescription pain pills within the past year
- 0.8% of people aged 12+ reported having an opioid use disorder in the past year
- Over 10,000 people were enrolled in medication-assisted treatment for opioid use in 2019
Heroin Use Disorder in Arizona
Heroin is an opioid that is usually consumed by injection, snorting, or smoking. From 2002 to 2019, heroin use for those aged 12 and older in Arizona increased from 0.16% of people to 0.41% of people. This is higher than the national average, which went from 0.16% to 0.3%.
Fatal Overdose Data
You may have heard the term “opioid epidemic” tossed around before, and this is for good reason. In 2022, there were nearly 2,000 opioid-related overdose fatalities. In addition to that, opioids were responsible for over 7.7k emergency room visits, and for over 3,000 non-fatal overdoses.
In Maricopa County alone, opioid-specific overdoses per 100,000 residents have increased from 5.2 in 2012 to 28.8 in 2021, and over two-thirds of all drug overdose fatalities in 2021 involved opioids.
Stats in Arizona: Cocaine Use Disorder
Cocaine is an illegal substance derived from the coca leaves commonly found in parts of South America. In 2022, according to the Arizona government state reports, 1.2% of youth aged 12-18 reported trying cocaine at least once. The highest percentage age group was 12th graders with 2.0% versus the lowest being 8th graders at 0.8%.
Cocaine falls under the category of “illicit drug use.” Over 3% of people aged 12+ have reported having an Illicit drug use disorder within the past year.
Fatal Overdose Data
In 2021 over 24,000 overdose deaths occurred because of cocaine across America. This number has increased drastically just from 2015 when the number sat at 6,700.
Stats in Arizona: Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol is one of the most commonly consumed substances on this list. While not everyone who drinks has an alcohol use disorder, the culture around alcohol use can make it sometimes easy for an AUD to go undetected for a while.
Studies also show that the younger someone is when they first try alcohol, the more likely they are to have an AUD as they get older.
- 6.7% of youth aged 12-17 have reported participating in alcohol consumption within the past month.
- 30.5% of people aged 18-25 have binge drank alcohol in the past month.
- 9.5% of 18-25-year-olds have an alcohol use disorder
- 4.7% of people age 12 and older have an alcohol use disorder
- 16.3% of people in substance use treatment are there just for alcohol use
Fatal Overdose Data
Alcohol fatalities expand across more than just overdoses, which are commonly referred to as “alcohol poisoning.” In fact, drunk-driving-related deaths are just as impactful. From 2020 to 2021 there were over 700 people killed due to drunk driving.
Excessive alcohol consumption isn’t a joke. Across the United States as a whole, it is the 4th leading preventable cause of death. In 2019 in Arizona, over 280 people died due to alcohol, with 70% of those deaths relating specifically to alcohol poisoning, or having a blood-alcohol content of over 0.15.
Stats in Arizona: Meth Use Disorder
According to the Arizona High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, methamphetamines, commonly referred to simply as meth, are the #1 drug threat in Arizona. In fact, 36% of people reported that at least one person in their family had partaken in meth at least once within the past month. Thankfully, however, youth methamphetamine use has been on the decline. In 2014, 0.5% of people aged 12-17 reported having used meth at least once whereas in 2018 that number has been reduced to 0.3%.
Fatal Overdose Data
In 2019, meth was the highest contributor to overdoses in Maricopa and Pima Count with 670 fatal overdoses.
Stats in Arizona: Marijuana Use Disorder
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, marijuana was the most commonly used illicit substance in 2021 with over 50 million people reporting having partaken in it at least once. For youth aged 12-17, 6.8% across the US reported past-month marijuana consumption. This is higher than the Arizona average of 3.9%.
- 30.7% of young adults aged 18-25 reported past-year marijuana use
- 5.2% of young adults aged 18-25 reported having a marijuana use disorder
- 16.3% of people 12+ reported past-year marijuana use
- 1.2% of people 12+ reported having a marijuana use disorder
Arizona Drug Problems: Risk of Overdose
According to the CDC, Arizona has the 17th highest mortality rate for drug overdoses in the United States. In Maricopa County alone, drug overdoses per 100,000 residents have increased from 14 in 2012 to 37.6 in 2021.
Luckily, here in Arizona, not only do we have the Good Samaritan Law, but we also have naloxone distribution centers. The Good Samaritan Law protects those who are seeking medical help for an overdose. If you or a loved one experiences an overdose of any kind, don’t be afraid to get help. It might be life-saving.
Naloxone is one such life-saving substance. It is used to help those who are going through an opioid overdose. It doesn’t require a prescription, and there’s a website you can use to find a naloxone distribution site near you, right here in Arizona.
Finding Drug Use and Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Arizona
If you’re looking to find a place that will help you on your road to recovery right here in Arizona, look no further than Pinnacle Peak Recovery. Our drug rehab center offers everything from detox to inpatient and outpatient programs. We are no strangers to helping people with a variety of needs, from cocaine treatment to heroin treatment and even fentanyl treatment programs.
Our trained and licensed medical professionals will work with you to give you a proper assessment to ascertain the level of care that would be most beneficial for you. We know that not every client who walks through our doors is exactly the same which is why we offer a variety of treatments from 12-step programs to other types of treatment and therapy.
If you want to get started on your recovery journey here at Pinnacle Peak, or you have any questions at all, don't hesitate to give us a call at 866-377-4761
What are the most common drugs used in Arizona?
Marijuana is the most commonly used drug in Arizona. Following that is opioids.
Which drugs have the highest mortality rate?
Opioids are responsible for a large portion of all overdoses here in Arizona.