Car accidents used to be the top-ranking cause of accidental deaths in the United States, but that isn’t the case anymore. Drug overdoses are now in the leading spot as causes of accidental deaths in the United States.

Many of the drugs that are on this list are considered “safe” and are fully legal. The problem is when they are misused. Let’s take a closer look at these drugs and what makes them so dangerous.

Facts About Drugs

The unfortunate truth is, some of the most harmful drugs on the planet are trusted by doctors and given to patients all the time. Many of the overdoses happen after misusing prescription medication, either prescribed to the person or not.

Any drugs that give the user a euphoric effect, releasing serotonin, endorphins and dopamine can be dangerous. Altering the chemical balance of the brain is risky because the person’s brain now relies on the drug to keep that balance of brain chemicals consistent. Because it makes the user feel so good, it can be hard to stop once they realize they have become dependent.

How dangerous a drug is is impacted by how addictive it is. Everyone responds to drugs differently, though, so what one person can tolerate, the next person may not be able to. Despite this, there are drugs that are extremely addictive and very dangerous regardless of who is taking them. These are the drugs that are more likely to result in overdose deaths.

Facts About the Most Dangerous Drugs on the Planet

Many of the drugs we are going to look at are illegal, but there are a few on the list that are legal and often recommended by doctors to treat all types of ailments, from headaches to blocking serious pain after injuries or surgery. When misused, these drugs can cause serious harm to the body.


Also known as Tylenol, Feverall, and Mapap, Acetaminophen is often used as a pain reliever for issues such as headaches, menstrual cramps, and soreness from injuries. In infants and children, it is often used as a pain reliever and fever reducer.

Yearly, there are approximately 450 deaths as a result of an overdose, with about 100 of them being unintentional.


Legal for all adults ages 21 and over, alcohol is one of the most dangerous substances you can ingest. Malt liquor, beer, and wine all contribute to the 88,000 annual deaths in the United States. Not only is alcohol deadly, but it can lead to a number of conditions such as heart disease, liver damage, and cancer.

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Anti-anxiety medications such as Klonopin, Xanax, and Valium are all benzodiazepines. This is one of the more dangerous and deadly drugs because it is prescribed so frequently and can lead to deadly respiratory depression. In 2017, 31% of overdose deaths were caused by benzodiazepines.


K2 or Spice is chemically related to THC but is much more dangerous than marijuana. Synthetic pot can lead to seizures and anxiety attacks that lead to hospital visits.


Commonly referred to as blow, coke, or yayo, this strong stimulant has been a popular recreational drug for decades. Cocaine can lead to a number of long-term health risks, including organ failure, stroke, seizures, and unhealthy weight loss. The year 2017 saw about 14,000 cocaine-related overdose deaths in the United States. Roughly 75% of those people had taken opioids as well.


Heroin is a dangerous opioid that is made from morphine, which is a substance that naturally occurs within the seed of opium poppy plants. Heroin is found as a white or brown powder and is typically snorted or injected.


Meth is a stimulant that is both very damaging and habit-forming. It can cause massive changes to the brain, and long-term use can lead to dental destruction, psychosis, and cognitive deficits.

Facts about the Side-Effects from Drugs

Even though all drugs are dangerous to an extent, there are some that are drastically more dangerous than others. The risk factor increases when the user is abusing the drugs or combining them with other substances. Every year, the number of drug-related deaths seems to climb, surpassing the record set the year prior.

In some cases, you are at risk of sudden and immediate death, while others cause your health to decline over the course of years. These long-term side effects can lead to serious illness and complications and then, eventually, death. Knowing about the impact each drug can have on someone may be able to help reduce future overdose deaths. If people are aware of the risks, it may deter them from use.

It’s About Time to Face the Facts: Living Free from Drugs and Alcohol

Whether you or a loved one are having problems with drugs or alcohol, you don’t have to suffer alone. Recovery is possible, and with the help of your friends, family, and an experienced recovery counselor, you can make a plan to get clean.

The best way to get through your addiction and come out on the other side is to make a detailed plan on exactly how you are going to quit. This adjustment period immediately following your last use can be quite difficult. The cravings will be strongest at this time, so it’s important that you know exactly what you will do to move forward.

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A common plan to quit may include the following:

  • Realizing that there is a problem and that you need to quit
  • Understanding that cravings may stick around for a while
  • Finding a medical professional or counselor to talk to about quitting
  • Removing all drugs, paraphernalia, and triggers from your home and car
  • Understanding what your triggers are and how to refrain from falling back into old habits
  • Picking a day to quit and letting people know of your plan

To ensure you have all of the treatment strategies and healthy coping mechanisms that you need for a better chance at long-term success, you can even seek help through an inpatient or intensive outpatient treatment facility. Inpatient drug rehab facilities are, in fact, the best and most effective way to kick an addiction to the curb for good. Because they eliminate all outside distractions and temptations to return to drug use and have medical staff on site, an individual attending an inpatient drug rehab can rest assured knowing that their well-being is in good hands at all times of day. 

Reach out today if you are ready to break the destructive nature of addiction and live free from drugs/alcohol from now on. You deserve the liberation and freedom that is gained from being substance free.

Amanda Stevens

Amanda Stevens

Amanda is a prolific content writer, and is in recovery from disordered eating. She has a passion for health, nutrition, meditation, spiritual practices, and being a mother of a beautiful daughter.

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