The following list includes some of the most commonly abused substances and chemicals confirmed by the CDC and DEA.
What Commonly Used Drugs Are the Most Dangerous?
While all drugs can be dangerous, especially illegal drugs or drugs that are used without a prescription, some are more dangerous than others. Drug-related deaths are on the rise across the United States, and every year tens of thousands of Americans die from drug-related causes. Some drugs can be deadly after a single dose, while others cause death only after extended use. Here are the drugs.
Nicotine is an extremely lethal substance according to the Centers for Disease Control and the most dangerous drug. It is responsible for costing the United States billions of dollars yearly and over 480,000 deaths in recent years. Despite these findings, smoking cigarettes “is the leading preventable cause of death.” Tobacco destroys the body’s vital organs, most commonly the lungs and throat. It is highly addictive and sought out for its ability to produce relaxation. Another dangerous component of tobacco is its ability to cause secondhand smoke. Individuals who do not smoke but live with a smoker risk lung-related illness and death through the smoke.
Smoking cigarettes, “causes 90% of all lung cancer deaths,” claiming the lives of women more than men. Furthermore, individuals who smoke tobacco products worsen their risk of death by stroke, coronary heart disease, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) if combined with alcohol and/or other harmful chemicals. Tobacco remains legal and has become popular with young users who use e-cigarettes. Tobacco users will note the difficulty in quitting cold turkey, and often times, nicotine patches and other methods are necessary to quit.
Alcohol is a commonly abused substance sought out for its ability to lower inhibitions. Presently, it is responsible for 88,000 US deaths annually. Alcohol is a depressant and can alter moods when individuals are under the influence and craving alcohol. Side effects of alcohol use can range from slurred speech, to blacking out, and more severe symptoms, like liver disease and comas. Sometimes it can be hard to detect if someone is enjoying alcohol responsibly or struggles with an alcohol use disorder.
Alcohol abuse can occur in drinking stages: social, moderate, binge drinking, and heavy drinking. Heavy drinking is typically considered the most dangerous state. At this point, someone has developed a dependence and will endure painful withdrawal symptoms upon stopping. Additionally, individuals drinking alcohol can deepen their affinity for alcohol over time, risking health-related problems and relationship issues. Heavy and long-term alcohol use can contribute to brain damage, kidney and liver damage, financial loss, poor memory, cancer, higher risk of assault, irritability, alcohol withdrawal, and Delirium Tremens. If alcohol is combined with Cocaine or Benzodiazepines, someone could risk a fatal overdose.
The CDC reported the troubling statistics of the extremely addictive Opioid, Fentanyl, which is both a synthetic and prescription Opioid. This drug is a powerful pain reliever, with 50 to 100 times the potency of Morphine and 50 times the potency of Heroin. Fentanyl is highly addictive, and quitting cold turkey is often unsuccessful without treatment.
Fentanyl is a powerful Opioid once used in hospitals as a prescribed medication. The chemical has been used to treat moderate to severe pain and has been used as an anesthetic in the 1930s. It can be inhaled through the nose in spray form to relieve pain and in tablet form under the tongue to assist cancer patients. Despite its medical use, Fentanyl has taken many forms and has been synthetically manufactured. The end result is a dangerous analgesic that can be injected, snorted, swallowed, or blotted on paper. Fentanyl is even more lethal when combined with other street drugs like Cocaine, Methamphetamines, or Heroin.
Heroin is another highly addictive synthetic Opioid, popular for its fast-acting properties. The Morphine derivative originates from poppy seeds like other Opioids. Heroin is commonly available in white powder form, but other types of Heroin (black tar Heroin) are brown in color. Street names for Heroin include Big H, Black Tar, Hell Dust, Smack, and Thunder.
Unfortunately, Heroin continues to be a leading killer of individuals struggling with substance abuse disorders, as some combine it with substances like Cocaine, Methamphetamines, and Fentanyl. The addictive substance can be snorted, smoked, or injected and affects the mind by producing intense euphoric sensations. Because of Heroin’s euphoric rush, addiction is easy. Quitting is extremely difficult, and withdrawal symptoms such as cravings and heavy extremities can cause some to continue Heroin abuse. Those battling overdose symptoms can experience blueish lips, shallow breathing, convulsions, and coma.
Cocaine is a stimulant that has gained popularity in the US since the 1970s. The increase of Cocaine use has garnered much attention as the drug has seemed to make a comeback in recent years. Similar to Heroin, Cocaine releases a large amount of dopamine in the brain, triggering a feeling of euphoria upon use. Cocaine abuse can cause cardiac arrest, convulsions, stroke, and death. Individuals who have used Cocaine have experienced feelings of paranoia, excitability, extreme weight loss, anxiety, and depression.
Cocaine is highly damaging to the body the mind and body of the user. Euphoric feelings it produces can create an emotional dependency for those battling depression and stress. It can create a high that can make someone temporarily forget difficulties and feel invincible. Once, those sensations disappear, the person is left wanting more and higher amounts, creating a pattern.
Methadone is a Schedule II synthetic Narcotic. It was first used during World War II to treat pain because of a Morphine shortage. Presently, the medication is used to treat Opioid-related addictions, such as Heroin. Nevertheless, Methadone continues to be monitored by healthcare professionals, and patients using Methadone may use it in rehab to combat Heroin substance use disorders, but may risk becoming addicted.
The chemical is available in tablet, liquid, or injection form and has sedative effects on the body and mind. Its ability to cause dependence, withdrawal, and addiction are causes for concern. The most common symptoms of Methadone abuse aside cravings include sweating, itchiness, or feeling drowsy. Advanced use of Methadone can lead to constricted pupils, high blood pressure, and loss of consciousness.
Oxycodone as gained notoriety recently. Oxycodone is the active ingredient in both OxyContin and Percocet, and OxyContin remains 1 of the most commonly abused prescription medications. Percocet and OxyContin continue to be glamorized in popular culture for their ability to temporarily create feelings of happiness, reduce anxiety, and cause relaxation.
Morphine is a schedule II synthetic Narcotic derived from the Opium plant. It is a Narcotic that has a high risk of abuse and has been used in hospitals to aid in pain relief. Morphine can be snorted, injected, or smoked. It is commonly abused for its euphoric effects on the mind and body, causing drowsiness and reduced anxiety levels. Withdrawal symptoms like depression and nausea can make it difficult to stop, and when Morphine is combined with other substances, it can increase the risk of a fatal overdose.
Methamphetamine, or Meth, classified as a Stimulant, has fluctuated in popularity. It has a distinct crystal-shape form and an extremely high rate of addiction.
Meth abuse causes noticeable physical characteristics that can be permanent. Some of these include rapid weight loss, elated moods, and extreme dental decay. Meth use results in dopamine in the brain with a high that can span a few days. Furthermore, Meth is widely available and can be made from toxic everyday items found in someone’s household. Much of America’s Meth supply is imported or illegally manufactured in labs, with highly flammable chemicals. Individuals abusing Meth can expect to feel an increased heart rate, alertness, agitation, skin infections, and risk fatally overdosing.
Closing out the list of the 10 most dangerous drugs is Xanax, or Alprazolam, a Benzodiazepine that helps treat anxiety. Anxiety can contribute to an inability to be relaxed and in some cases, substance use disorders. An estimated 20% of individuals with anxiety struggle with a substance use disorder. Additionally, some Xanax deaths included Fentanyl (28.3%), Heroin (26.9%), and Oxycodone (25.3%). The majority of deaths by Xanax were unintentional; however, some individuals have used Xanax to assist in suicidal actions.
Some of the most common side effects some feel with taking Alprazolam range from confusion, decreased heart rate, and comas. When individuals combine Alprazolam when substances like Heroin, Methadone, or alcohol, there is a greater risk of a fatal overdose.
Most dangerous street drugs in the world. The drugs that will rot your flesh, destroy your vital organs, and turn you into a zombie.
One of the more unusual drugs around at the moment, purple drank was popularised in 90’s hip hop culture, with the likes of Jay Z and Big Moe all mentioning it in their songs. It is a concoction of soda water, sweets and cold medicine, and is drunk due to cold medicine's high codeine content, which gives the user a woozy feeling. However it can also cause respiratory issues and heart failure.
Scopolamine is a derivative of the nightshade plant found in the Northern Indian region of South America (Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela). It is generally found in a refined powder form, but can also be found as a tea. The drug is more often used by criminals due its high toxicity level (one gram is believed to be able to kill up to 20 people) making it a strong poison. However, it is also believed that the drug is blown into the faces of unexpecting victims, later causing them to lose all sense of self-control and becoming incapable of forming memories during the time they are under the influence of the drug. This tactic has reportedly been used by gangs in Colombia where there have been reports of people using scopolamine as a way to convince victims to rob their own homes.
Founded in 1874 by C. R. Alder Wright, heroin is one of the world’s oldest drugs. Originally it was prescribed as a strong painkiller used to treat chronic pain and physical trauma. However, in 1971 it was made illegal under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Since then it has become one of the most destructive substances in the world, tearing apart communities and destroying families.
The side effects of heroin include inflammation of the gums, cold sweats, a weak immune system, muscular weakness, and insomnia. It can also damage blood vessels which can later cause gangrene if left untreated.
Crack cocaine first came about in the 1980s when cocaine became a widespread commodity within the drug trafficking world. Originally cocaine would have attracted a high price tag due to its rarity and difficulty to produce, but once it became more widespread the price dropped significantly. This resulted in drug dealers forming their cocaine into rock like shapes by using baking soda as a way of distilling the powder down into rock form. People were doing this because it allowed them to sell cocaine at a lower quantity and to a higher number of people.
Since then it has gone on to form one of the biggest drug epidemics in the world, and during the height of its popularity it was believed that over 10 million people were crack cocaine users in the US alone.
The side effects of crack cocaine include liver, kidney, and lung damage, as well as permanent damage to blood vessels, which can often lead to heart attacks, strokes, and ultimately death.
Not just famous because of a certain Walter H White, but also because it is one of the most destructive drugs in the world. First developed in 1887, it became widely used during the Second World War when both sides would give it to their troops to keep them awake. It is also believed that the Japanese gave it to their Kamikaze pilots before their suicide missions.
After the war crystal meth was prescribed as a diet aid and remained legal until the 1970s. Since then it has fallen into the hands of Mexican gangs and has become a worldwide phenomenon, spreading throughout Europe and Asia.
The effects of crystal meth are devastating. In the short-term users will become sleep-deprived and anxious, and in the long-term it will cause their flesh to sink, as well as brain damage and damage of the blood vessels.
AH-7921 is a synthetic opioid that was previously available to legally purchase online from vendors until it became a Class A in January 2015. The drug is believed to have 80% of the potency of morphine, and became known as the ‘legal heroin’.
While there has only been one death related to AH-7921 in the UK, it is believed to be highly dangerous and capable of causing respiratory arrest and gangrene.
Flakka is a stimulant with a similar chemical make-up to the amphetamine-like drug found in bath salts. While the drug was originally marketed as a legal high alternative to ecstasy, the effects are significantly different. The user will feel an elevated heart rate, enhanced emotions, and, if enough is digested, strong hallucinations. The drug can cause permanent psychological damage due to it affecting the mood-regulating neurons that keep the mind’s sertraline and dopamine in check, as well as possibly causing heart failure.
Bath salts are a synthetic crystalline drug that is prevalent in the US. While they may sound harmless, they certainly aren’t the sort of salts you drop into a warm bath when having a relaxing night in. They are most similar to mephedrone, and have recently been featured throughout social media due to the ‘zombification’ of its users.
The name comes from the fact that the drug was originally sold online, and widely disguised as bath salts. The side effects include unusual psychiatric behavior, psychosis, panic attacks, and violent behavior, as well as the possibility of a heart attack and an elevated body temperature.
Whoonga is a combination of antiretroviral drugs, used to treat HIV, and various cutting agents such as detergents and poisons. The drug is widely available in South Africa due to South Africa’s high rate of HIV sufferers and is believed to be popular due to how cheap it is when compared to prescribed antiretrovirals.
The drug is highly addictive and can cause major health issues such as internal bleeding, stomach ulcers, and ultimately death.
MOST DANGEROUS OF THEM ALL
Krokodil is Russia’s secret addiction. It is believed that over one million Russians are addicted to the drug. Users of krokodil are attracted to the drug due to its low price; it is sold at £20 a gram while heroin is sold for £60. However, krokodil is considered more dangerous than heroin because it is often homemade, with ingredients including painkillers, iodine, lighter fluid, and industrial cleaning agents. This chemical make-up makes the drug highly dangerous and likely to cause gangrene, and eventually rotting of the flesh.