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Internet Drug Search Results Timeline in US

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drug search trends A research group at Google created the tool Google Trends to help track content that is currently trending on the internet.  This proved to be interesting when used to track down internet drug search trends. Internet drug search results can help analysts determine what substances have been most prevalent, where they have been used in the country most, and the years where they have been trending most. Here is a list of drug trends from the past decade that has been gathered by Google trends to help clarify what drugs may be a problem in the U.S.

Drug Search Trends Timeline

Early 2000s

Meth was searched frequently during this time, which was when the cost of the drug was at its lowest and began to rise in popularity because of its reputation as a cheap substance that produces euphoric effects.  LSD drug search results were also high in volume at this time.  By 2013, over 24.8 million individuals over the age over 12 claimed they had taken LSD at some point in their life, according to a study done by The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).


Cocaine and methamphetamine use is rampant during this time in America.


Meth abuse was at an all time high during this time and as a result, groups like the Montana Meth Project were launched in order to help prevent meth addiction.


During this time, the most popular online drug search being explored was for heroin in both Maryland and Utah.


This was when drug search results first began to get noticed for the pharmaceutical drugs like Xanax.


Adderall was searched almost as much as cocaine was between 2011 – 2012.  The good news is that there has been a decrease in abuse in users 12 years and older shifting from 2.1 million to as little as 1.7 million between 2007 and 2012, according to The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH).


In 2011 Xanax hit its peak in popularity of drug searches over the internet. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that a misuse of pharmaceutical drugs were the main reason for 1.4 million emergency room visits in 2011.  So it would make sense logically that a prescription drug like Xanax would be researched as frequently as it was during this time over the internet, especially since out of the large number of stays in the ER, 501,207 were associated with anti-anxiety and insomnia drugs.


Drug search results soar for marijuana in the state of Colorado due to marijuana legalization.


Prescription pain medication becomes even popular. In fact, the CDC states that pharmaceutical overdoses were prevalent during this year and caused 22,767 deaths in the nation. Also during this time, heroin was found to be trending in states like Pennsylvania and Oregon.


This was the time period where drug search results prove heroin reached a major peak.  Even though heroin might have been prevalent in some states, Suboxone was a trending drug search result particularly in Massachusetts during March 2014.  The drug Suboxone is an opiate medication often used as a maintenance treatment for heroin, which might explain why the online search results were high around this time.

What do drug search results show society?

By seeing learning what drugs the public is researching, how frequently they are searching for the drugs, and viewing these types of figures, knowledge can be gained about the current ongoing drug culture to further build understanding.  When there is better understanding, then there is a far greater opportunity to implement change in the nation together in unity to combat the war on drugs and best find ways to treat substance use disorders.

Looking for more information? Click here: Visualizing drug-related web searches across the US

Are you looking up information on drugs and/or alcohol because you’re still active in addiction or trying to help your loved one?  Contact The Watershed for help today because freedom exists. Call today for help at 1-800-861-1768.

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