Both illicit and legal substances can be harmful when abused; however, not all drugs are created equally. While some substances merely impair, other drugs can have fatal consequences after only one use.
Not only are all drugs different, but when it comes to illicit substances, the potency of one batch of drugs can vary from the potency of another, which can set an individual up for a potentially fatal, accidental overdose. It is important to note that some drugs can also be laced with other drugs, which also increases risk of serious consequences such as overdose. To inform you of the dangers associated with common drugs, we have compiled a list of the top ten most dangerous, ranked below.
Top 10 Most Dangerous Drugs
Although marijuana does not contribute to overdose fatalities, the sedative properties of the drug impair users which can lead to reckless behavior. Recently, there has been a growing concern among the medical community regarding the increasing potency of marijuana. In a study conducted by the University of Mississippi and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, The percentage of THC in marijuana has been steadily increasing within the last few decades, resulting in a greater risk for developing an addiction.
MDMA, also known as ecstasy, is a psychoactive drug that enhances sensory perception and mood. Because of these effects, MDMA is a common party drug. This drug lowers inhibitions and contributes to risky behavior. A 2011 survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimated 22,498 emergency room visits involved MDMA use, with the majority occurring among individuals aged 18 to 29.
Benzodiazepines are a class of prescription drugs used to treat various anxiety and sleep disorders. According to data collected by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the number of adults filling a benzodiazepine prescription increased 67%, from 8.1 million to 13.5 million between 1996 and 2013. Due to the sedative quality of benzos, they are at high risk for abuse and addiction. Although overdose fatalities from benzodiazepines are not common, the prescription drug is very dangerous when combined with other addictive substances such as alcohol or opioids.
Due to its accessibility and legality, alcohol is the most abused substance in the world. Although death by alcohol consumption is not as likely in comparison to other substances on this list, alcohol contributes to a massive amount of alcohol-related deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 29 people in the United States die each day in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver, totaling one death every 50 minutes.
6. Crack Cocaine
Crack cocaine is a form of powdered cocaine that has been chemically manipulated and hardened into a crystalline rock. Being a cheaper alternative to cocaine, crack is widely abused and extremely addictive. In 2016, there were an estimated 432,000 current crack users in the United States alone. The substance acts as a stimulant and causes irreversible bodily damage when abused.
Typically referred to as “meth”, this stimulant ranks within the top five most addictive, illicit drugs in the world. When used, meth produces a rush of euphoria, increased alertness, increased energy, and feelings of invincibility. According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, methamphetamine was the second-largest contributor to overdose deaths in the United States between May 2019 and May 2020.
Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant that comes in powder form. When abused, the drug negatively impacts central nervous system functions and can cause stroke, cardiac arrhythmia, cardiac arrest, convulsions, and death. In 2017, drug overdose deaths involving cocaine increased by more than 34%, with almost 14,000 Americans dying from an overdose involving cocaine.
Heroin is a central nervous system depressant and semi-synthetic opiate made from the drug morphine. When used, heroin suppresses breathing and reduces heart rate to dangerously low levels. As a depressant, this opioid is the source of many fatal overdoses and has largely contributed to the ongoing opioid epidemic. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports drug overdose deaths involving heroin rose from 1,960 in 1999 to 15,469 in 2016.
Oxycodone is an extremely potent opioid prescription drug. It is often available in combination with other analgesics such as aspirin or acetaminophen. Due to it being twice as potent as morphine, oxycodone is highly addictive and life-threatening when abused. As stated in the CDC’s National Vital Statistics Report, oxycodone use ranked first in overdose deaths in 2011 with 5,587 overdose fatalities that year.
Fentanyl earns the top spot on this list due to it being the most addictive and the most deadly. This fully synthetic opioid is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine and is currently the number one cause of overdose fatality in the United States. Because of its strength, even a minuscule amount of fentanyl can cause a fatal overdose in an individual who has built up opioid tolerance. One kilogram of fentanyl has the potential to kill 500,000 people. The presence of fentanyl is often found in heroin, cocaine, and even pills without the user being aware.
Asheville Recovery Center Can Help
It is important to seek help immediately if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction. At Asheville Recovery Center, treatment specialists have developed a unique, hybrid model of treatment which combines a traditional 12-step program with holistic rehabilitation. A multitude of services, programs, and therapies are offered, including the Partial Hospitalization Program, Residential-style treatment, outpatient rehabilitation, and more.
The founders of Asheville Recovery Center, as well as many of our addiction therapists, have struggled with addiction and now enjoy life in recovery. They understand the struggles of addiction and how difficult it is to overcome alone. If you feel that you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, our specialists are on standby and ready to help. Call (828)518-6996 and speak with an addiction expert today so you can take the first step towards a rewarding life of sobriety.