The epidemic of drug addiction is still raging in the US, and it causes countless lives to be destroyed every year. While many people have an idea about what kind of addictive drugs are out there, they may not know much about the drugs or their side effects.

There are many dangerous and even deadly drugs that are illegal and can only be obtained by illicit means, and while most people know these drugs can cause incredibly strong addictions and side effects, they may not know that some of the most dangerous drugs available can be obtained legally. Not only are there drugs like alcohol that can destroy lives immediately, but there are substances prescribed for anxiety, pain management, and even attention disorders that can be equally dangerous.

Addiction can be challenging to deal with, to say the least. Not only are the individuals using the drugs affected, but they often involve many of their friends, family members, and loved ones in their plight, causing multiple lives to be impacted and even destroyed. Managing any addiction effectively should be done with professional help, to ensure that there are no complications and that the recovery has a solid foundation for success.

What Are The Most Addictive Drugs On The Planet?

There are countless drugs on the planet, and while they can all be dangerous in their own ways, some are and always will be far more dangerous than others. Some of the most dangerous drugs may come as a surprise to some, here are some of the worst.

Alcohol

Alcohol is, and will likely remain, one of the most frequently abused drugs in the entire world, and when looking at the US it’s no different. The assumption most people make is that alcohol is dangerous only for those under 21 or who consume irresponsibly, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Not only is alcohol classified as a poison, but consuming even small amounts regularly can have immense, negative effects on the user. It is also a very powerful central nervous system depressant, meaning it slows down the communication between the brain and the systems involved in breathing, movement, vision, and even memory.

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines or more commonly, “benzos”, are a drug family that is often leveraged and prescribed to those with certain conditions relating to feelings of anxiety or even panic. Some of the more well-known brands of benzodiazepines are Valium and Xanax, and while they can certainly be helpful for those that require them medically, they are also responsible for powerful respiratory depression and fatal seizures, accounting for a large portion of all annual overdose deaths. One of the reasons that benzodiazepines are so widely misused or abused is that they are a very common prescription drug overall, which makes them more available to those who would abuse them.

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Cocaine & Crack

Although differing in their name, these two potent stimulants are made from the same source and have similar effects. Cocaine is one of the most popular party drugs and social drugs of the last century, and it has a list of celebrity abusers as long as its list of nicknames. It is a stimulant that is often snorted and provides up to an hour of euphoria and increased social enjoyment. 

Crack is cocaine that has been processed into a smokable “rock” form, and while cocaine is quite expensive and popular with celebrities and the wealthy, crack is cheap and popular in the more economically depressed urban areas where it was first introduced. Crack has similar effects to cocaine, though they are more intense and last for only a few minutes, and create a stronger dependence.

Fentanyl & Heroin

These two drugs are both synthetic opioids, meaning they are created from a substance extracted from opium poppies then concentrated and processed. Opioids are known as analgesics, meaning they relieve pain, and they are some of the most powerful pain relievers on the entire planet. Both heroin and fentanyl are commonly injected as well as snorted.

Heroin is dangerous and deadly on its own, and it has been wreaking havoc in the nation both in rural locations and larger cities, but fentanyl is even worse. Fentanyl was developed as an anesthetic, but is now being abused on the streets and is even being used to cut heroin. Since fentanyl is about 50x the potency of heroin, this leads to a nearly immediate overdose in the user who takes the drug unaware.

Prescription Opioids

Like their illegal counterparts, legal prescription opioids are an incredibly dangerous and deadly problem in this country. They are commonly prescribed to individuals living with chronic, severe pain that is often not manageable with any other types of drugs. 

This leaves them with options like hydrocodone, or codeine, which end up building tolerance and a very strong chemical and psychological dependence in the user. Some of the most unassuming people have become addicted to prescription opioids even when following their doctor’s dosage and administration directions.

Methamphetamine

Methamphetamines are a class of drugs that elevates and stimulates the central nervous system, speeding up the user’s bodily functions, which is one of the reasons they are commonly prescribed to help manage conditions like attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The prescription versions are generally taken in pill form and have effects that can last for 8-12 on average.

There is also a clandestine version of meth called “crystal” that is produced in unbelievable quantities and consumed by those addicted. It can be smoked, snorted, or injected, and is one of the most powerful stimulants being abused on our streets. While not generally responsible for high overdose numbers, those who become dependent on meth can experience excruciating detox and withdrawal symptoms, reinforcing their addiction.

Side-Effects of Using The Most Addictive Drugs

Side Effects Of Alcohol

Even though it’s seen as harmless by many, alcohol actually has some incredibly serious side effects. The risk of more serious issues also increases the longer that alcohol is abused. These side effects can include:

  • Liver damage and eventually cirrhosis
  • Brain damage and lowering overall brain mass due to lost brain cells
  • Stomach and digestive dysfunction
  • Ulcers in the stomach or intestines
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Decrease in male fertility
  • Malnutrition
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiency
  • Elevated risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, and stomach
  • Cardiovascular and heart damage

Side Effects Of Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines have some serious side effects from usage, but they also have potential issues when quitting. It is not advised to stop taking benzodiazepines cold turkey, since without medical assistance it can cause seizures and even death. Side effects of abuse include:

  • Drowsiness or sleepiness
  • Light-headedness 
  • Increased confusion
  • Loss of balance and coordination, resulting in unsteady movement
  • Slurring speech
  • Memory problems and damage to the memory center of the brain
  • Muscle weakness

Side Effects Of Cocaine & Crack

The side effects of cocaine and crack can differ from person to person, but many of the effects will overlap. These side effects include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Aggression
  • Restlessness
  • Elevated respiration rate
  • Erratic, irresponsible, or outright dangerous behavior
  • Burns or residue on the lips and fingers from smoking
  • Permanent damage to blood vessels
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney damage
  • Tooth decay
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Psychosis

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Side Effects Of Fentanyl & Heroin

Opioids of all types are highly dangerous and addictive. The most common side effects will include:

  • Liver diseases
  • Kidney disease
  • Respiratory depression
  • Skin damage, disease, and infection from injection
  • Septicemia
  • Elevated potential for all bloodborne pathogens
  • Cardiovascular and heart infections
  • Infection from HIV, or hepatitis variants
  • Reduced mental functioning and cognition
  • Pneumonia
  • Venous scarring
  • Collapsed veins
  • Unpredictable clotting that can result in embolism, stroke, or heart attacks
  • Seizure
  • Coma
  • Death

Side Effects Of Crystal Methamphetamine

Crystal meth can have an incredibly long list of effects based on how the drug is taken. Side effects of crystal meth include:

  • Intense and even uncomfortable high
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Halitosis
  • Emotional instability resulting in irritability, aggression, or even sudden violent behavior
  • Seizure
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Increased body temperature, or hyperthermia
  • Dilated and minimally responsive pupils
  • Heavy and uncontrollable sweating
  • Paranoia
  • High risk of cognitive impairment that may become permanent
  • Reduction in cardiovascular circulation
  • Weakened veins
  • High risk of stroke
  • Dental damage
  • Injuries from risky behavior engaged in while high

What To Do If You Develop An Addiction To One Of The Most Addictive Drugs

If you, a loved one, or anyone you care about may have developed an addiction to one of the most addictive drugs on the planet, the first thing you should do is talk to a professional about a treatment plan. In some cases trying to detox and endure withdrawals solo can be incredibly difficult and can even be deadly. 

By working with a local addiction professional not only can the detox and withdrawal process be completed in a clean, safe, and confidential environment, but there will also be medical supervision in the event of any potential complications. This can lay the groundwork for a long and successful road to recovery.

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