The map paints a clear picture of the most common drug leading to a conviction in the United States: methamphetamine. Meth topped the list in 27 states, including all of the West, most of the Midwest, and parts of the South. Results from the 2015 National Drug Threat Survey (NDTS), which is conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), indicate that a meth problem may be on the rise. The report also revealed that meth-related treatment admissions and meth seizures have all increased in recent years, and that abuse and availability rates are markedly higher in the Western United States.
Heroin was the most common in 10 states, while powder cocaine was the most prevalent drug in five states (Florida, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and D.C.) and tied for most prevalent in two (Louisiana and Delaware). Only four states (South Carolina, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Maine) counted crack cocaine as the top drug for convictions.
Marijuana was the top drug in three of the four states that border Mexico: Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. While large amounts of marijuana are smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico in numerous ways – tunnels, shipping containers, and hidden compartments in vehicles – officials noted that between 2013 and 2014, 24% less marijuana was seized at the southwest border. This may be because Americans are getting marijuana from domestic sources. Currently, 24 states plus D.C. have laws legalizing marijuana in some form, and five of those permit recreational use. Several other states have decriminalized small amounts, which means first-time possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal use does not lead to an arrest, a prison sentence, or a criminal record.