What are the most abused controlled substances in New York?

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2022 | Criminal History, Firm News |

Controlled substances are drugs that can be highly addictive and dangerous if used incorrectly. Some are prescription medications available on a limited basis to treat certain medical conditions, while others have no acceptable uses.

An epidemic of opioid use across the country has hit East Coast states particularly hard. However, according to Rehab Adviser, opioids are not the only substances causing concern in New York because of widespread abuse. The following are some of the most commonly abused substances in New York. Possession or sale of these substances can incur harsh penalties.


Cocaine is a stimulant drug. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, it produces a rush of euphoria and increases the heart rate and blood pressure. New York has been a center of cocaine addiction since the 1980s, and its use is still widespread. In 2017, more than 22,000 people in New York state sought treatment for cocaine addiction.


Fentanyl is a highly potent synthetic opioid drug. It has accepted medical uses for treating people in severe pain. When used recreationally, it can be deadly because a relatively small amount can cause an overdose. Most overdose deaths in New York result from fentanyl. People who abuse fentanyl may divert it from legitimate prescriptions, but there is also fentanyl produced illicitly at clandestine facilities.


Heroin is an illicit opioid with no accepted medical uses. Because of the controls on prescription opioids, many people who originally became addicted to painkillers eventually switch to heroin, which is more accessible and produces the same effects. From 2010 to 2017, heroin overdose deaths in New York increased on an annual basis. Between 2016 and 2017, deaths from heroin overdose statewide more than doubled to 1,300.

In New York, marijuana is a special case. While the federal government still regards it as an illicit controlled substance with no accepted medical uses, the state of New York has decriminalized it. While this means that criminal charges related to marijuana are less severe than they used to be, thousands of people in New York still seek substance abuse treatment for marijuana every year.