The University of Nebraska’s nickname is the Cornhuskers for a good reason—the state is covered in rolling fields of corn. While this has always been one of the main staple crops of the state, it is also well known for growing other crops (such as soybeans) and raising pork and beef.

May of the residents of Nebraska first arrived here when they were on the move on the Oregon Trail. Many saw that the land could be farmed, and they decided not to go any further. It’s still one of the least-densely populated states in the entire country, but many of the people that call the state home would never think of leaving.

This home could be in danger for many Nebraskans, however, as the drug use rates in several categories are going up. Fast action is needed to handle spreading drug use in any category it appears in throughout the state. 

Nebraska Facts on Drug Use 

The following are facts on the drug use rate in Nebraska as well as the consequences of use in the state:

  • Nebraska has a slightly lower rate of drug abuse and drug treatment admissions than the national average. In Nebraska, only 7.01 percent of resident admit to past month drug use. This is compared to the national average of 8.82 percent of Americans using drugs on a monthly basis.
  • The number of Nebraskans that die as a direct result of their drug use is much less than the national average. The 6.6 people that die per 100,000 is about half of the 12.8 per 100,000 that die across America overall.

A Look at The Drug Problem in Nebraska 

Drug abuse and addiction are problems that have affected Americans for the past century.  While trends in drug use change and different drugs become more popular than others, one thing stays the same, Americans abuse illicit drugs.  For this reason since the 1970s the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) has conducted annual surveys to see what drugs Americans use the most and in what regions drugs are most common.

Nebraska is a state that falls in the bottom third of all states when it comes to drug use.  The NSDUH survey looks at nine specific categories of drugs, which include: inhalants, marijuana, stimulants, cocaine, heroin, tranquilizers, sedatives, hallucinogens, and prescription pain relievers, which are abused for nonmedical purposes.  Across the board Nebraskans rate lower than most other states, with 5% of residents over the age of 12 having used an illicit substance in the past month.  While this is much lower than the 12% of residents using drugs in the states with the highest drug use, it is still an indication that 90,000 Nebraskans had used drugs in the past 30 days.

When looking at the survey’s maps two categories of drug use in Nebraska stand out as being more problematic than other areas.  Among persons aged 18 to 25, 8% answered that they had used an illicit drug other than marijuana in the past month.  This is a full 2 percentage points higher than the states, which had the lowest scores.  The other category where Nebraska had a higher percentage of users was cocaine use among persons aged 18 to 25 in the past year.  Again, close to 6% of Nebraska residents had used cocaine in the past year, which is 2 percent higher than the lowest states, which had less than 4% of residents having used the drug.

The breakdown of drug use for Nebraska residents is as follows:

  • Meth has the largest use rate in the state. It accounts for about 35 percent of all treatment admissions in Nebraska.
  • Marijuana has the second largest usage rate. After a high of accounting for 40 percent of all treatment admissions in 1996 and 1997, the drug dropped to less than 20 percent of admissions in 2002 before climbing back up to its present state.
  • Heroin has continued to account for only a few percentage points of all treatment admissions for the past twenty years.
  • Cocaine and crack have continued to drop in usage and treatment admissions in Nebraska, just as usage and admissions have dropped across the rest of the country.
  • In another trait similar to the rest of the country, prescription drug abuse has continued to increase and is now responsible for about 17 percent of all admissions.

Resources & Sources for Nebraska Drug Treatment Nebraska Drug Control Update –