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District of Columbia Addiction Statistics


Drug Use


Marijuana is the most commonly used drug in D.C., so much so that D.C. ranks in the top ten states for marijuana use. Within the city, marijuana is legal for use and cultivation, but not for commercial sale.


Cocaine and heroin cause the most problems within the city, both relating to addiction and crime. Cocaine use in Washington D.C. is the highest in the country. Cocaine and crack cocaine is the most common drug that adult arrestees have in their systems. Club drugs are popular among young people and college students, particularly Ecstasy.


At one of the highest rates in the country, about 11% of D.C. residents is dependent on a substance.


Alcohol Use


D.C. has one of the highest rate of alcohol abuse in the country: around 8% of adults aged 26 and older are dependent on alcohol. In addition, they have one of the highest rates of binge drinking – in the 18 to 25% range – with an average of six drinks consumed in one sitting. The age group that binge drinks the most frequently is the 65+ crowd followed by the 18 to 34 age group.


However, D.C. also has the nations highest average age of first use of alcohol at 16.5 years, meaning that they don’t have as much of an underage drinking problem as other states. They also have an impressive rate of zero underage drinking-related vehicle fatalities.


Behavioral Disorders


Washington D.C. has a slightly elevated rate of eating disorders, with about two and a half times as many women as men diagnosed with an eating disorder.


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