Top 8 Most Dangerous Drugs

Under medical supervision, some drugs can be beneficial to people in certain situations. However, EVERY drug holds potential for abuse. This article seeks to explore which drugs are the most dangerous and the threats involved in taking them.

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ARTICLE OVERVIEW: No psychoactive drug is 100% safe. Yes, under medical supervision, some drugs can be beneficial to people in certain situations. However, EVERY drug holds potential for abuse. This article seeks to explore which drugs are the most dangerous and the threats involved in taking them. At the end, we invite you to ask questions.

ESTIMATED READING TIME: Less than 10 minutes.

Table of Contents:

How Do We Define the Most Dangerous Drug?

There are two primary factors which allow us to better understand what makes a drug so dangerous:

1. How much harm it causes to the body and mind.
2. Its risk of addiction.

We can further separate harms to the body and mind into short-term and long-term effects. Short-term effects of drug use are the immediate consequences that work against your health. These effects vary depending on the drug. For example, when someone takes heroin, a large amount of dopamine is released into the system. As the high begins to come down, the dopamine leaves your system and the brain needs time to refuel itself with natural dopamine. During this time, the user feels symptoms that are very similar to the flu (such as diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting).

Long-term effects are the health consequences which appear overtime after continuous use of drugs. This is a prime concern for people who struggle with addiction. Again, the exact effects depend on the drug of choice and how often/much you use. Common long-term symptoms of drug use include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hear complications
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver problems
  • Lung complications
  • Paranoia

For the most part, health problems and addiction go hand-in-hand. People who experience addiction usually have one or more associated health complications. Four common health issues due to drug addiction include:

  • Cancer
  • Heart or lung disease
  • Mental health conditions
  • Stroke

If you’re using any of the following drugs, you’re not only at great risk of forming an addiction quickly…you also risk adverse health complications. The following list is a compilation of the most dangerous drugs our current market has to offer.

#8 – Heroin

At one point in history, heroin was prescribed as a painkiller for chronic pain. But because so many people could not control their use, the drug became illegal. Since its discovery in 1874, it’s been one of the most destructively abused drugs people have gotten their hands on. This is namely due to its intense euphoric effects which are highly addictive.

When heroin metabolizes in the body, the brain reacts by flooding the system with neurotransmitters. This triggers pain relief and a sense of euphoria, the basis of a person’s addiction. But when someone stops taking heroin, their body and brain reacts with almost opposite effects. Dysphoria and depression are common, accompanied by very uncomfortable withdrawal.

#7 – Cocaine/Crack

Since crack is cocaine with additives (such as baking soda), the additional chemicals make it a more dangerous drug than cocaine itself. Sometimes dealers cut crack with toxic ingredients. However, both have hazardous effects on the individual for both long and short term.

The following are long-term effects of crack and cocaine use:

  • Angina, a pain in the chest due to tightening vessels.
  • Arrhythmia, an irregular heart rate.
  • Blood clots which could lead to a heart attack, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, or a stroke.
  • Brain damage.
  • Damage to the nose and mouth due to cocaine being either snorted or smoked.
  • Gastrointestinal damage.
  • Infectious diseases.
  • Kidney damage.
  • Liver damage.
  • Myocardial infarction, due to a lack of oxygen from poor blood flow, a heart muscle can die.
  • Permanently increased blood pressure.
  • Respiratory problems and pulmonary damage.
  • Tachycardia.

Furthermore, since cocaine is a stimulant, the heart pumps faster when someone is high on it. This can lead to a heart attack or other overdose complications which hold potential to be fatal. Crack and cocaine are very dangerous and people develop addictive habits to them quickly due to the intensity of the high and the immediate effects it has on the body. It’s important to seek help if you or a loved one is currently addicted to crack or cocaine.

#6 – Crystal Meth

Crystal meth is one of the most devastating drugs you can get your hands on. Short-term effects include being anxious and sleep deprived. Long-term effect include brain damage, damage of blood vessels, and sinking of the flesh.

Since the high of the drug starts almost immediately, and fades after 10-12 hours, people tend to continuously dose in order to keep the high going. This kind of behavior is known as a “binge and crash” pattern and is very dangerous considering how consistently drugs are being put into the body.

Furthermore, crystal meth affects your brain chemistry. Naturally, neurons recycle dopamine. But when you put crystal meth in the brain, it releases lots of dopamine itself, causing neurons to not have to work. When you stop taking dopamine, the neurons must learn to naturally recycle again and the body goes through crystal meth withdrawal.

#5 – AH-7921

Since AH-7921 isn’t very common, there’s a likely chance you won’t come across it. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s highly addictive and dangerous. AH-7921 is a synthetic opioid which has around 80% of the potency of morphine.

The health complications are very similar to heroin, but since it’s also a synthetic, there’s risk of causing respiratory arrest and gangrene.

#4 – Flakka

This is a newer drug which recently hit Florida’s Fort Lauderdale area. Also known as alpha-PVP, Flakka is a stimulant which has similar chemical structuring to amphetamines found in bath salts. The effects it has on the user are similar to cocaine, but 10 times stronger. These include:
  • Extreme agitation and violent behavior
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased friendliness
  • Increased sex drive
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia

Not only is Flakka extremely addictive, it also has serious risks to your harm. Unfortunately, since these drugs have only recently hit the market, there’s only so much known about how the amount of impairment it can do to the brain and body. However, researchers are aware that the consequences of Flakka are similar to the next drug on our list.

#3 – Bath Salts

This drug was originally sold online and used the term “bath salts” to disguise what it really is: cathiones. There isn’t enough research conducted for bath salts to fully understand the effects it has on the body for short-term and long-term use. However, clinicians at U.S. poison centers have discovered that some of the consequences to taking bath salts are:
  • Agitation
  • Chest pains
  • Delusions
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate

Furthermore, there’s been an alarming rate of ER visits due to bath salts. Though this drug is dangerous in itself, due to the fact that there’s so little known about it, people who take it are putting themselves at greater risks which may be unknown. If you or someone you know is taking bath salts, it’s important to seek treatment immediately.

#2 – Whoonga

Whoonga is one of a kind in the sense that it’s unlike most drugs in the illicit market. It’s a combination of antiretroviral drugs – which were created for the sake of treating HIV – and cut with other substances such as poisons and detergents. It’s not common in the United States, but has found prominent popularity in South Africa due to the high rate of HIV in South Africa.

Whoonga is highly dangerous towards your health and can cause:

  • Death
  • Internal bleeding
  • Stomach ulcers

Again, since this is a relatively new drug, little is known about the drug.

#1 – Krokodil

A recent drug which has been trending in Russia, Krokodil has affected over a million people. The problem with it is people have supplemented it for heroin due to its price – about a third of the price. The danger with Krokodil is it’s often homemade which can be very unsanitary and hosts a variety of ingredients including, but not limited to:
  • Gasoline
  • Industrial cleaning agents
  • Iodine
  • Lighter fluid
  • Painkillers
  • Paint thinners

Most people who take these toxic chemicals usually do so through injection. In turn, this has caused some of the following reactions to happen very soon after getting hooked on the drug:

  • Gangrene
  • Phlebitis, injury to the veins
  • Severe tissue damage
  • Spread of HIV

Krokodil hasn’t been seen widely in the United States yet, but is spreading through Europe rapidly.

Am I Addicted?

Health problems can be directly caused by an addiction. But what is an addiction? Addiction defined as:

Compulsive behavior during which the user has the inability to stop taking drugs despite the negative consequences it has had on their life.

It’s important to note that addiction isn’t a choice, but rather, a disease which is very hard to control. No one seeks to become addicted to drugs.

You may wonder whether you or someone you know is addicted to drugs. In order to find out, you can ask the following questions:

  • Are you unable to keep up responsibilities due to your drug use?
  • Has use of drugs affected previous activities you used to enjoy?
  • Have you continued to use drugs despite it causing problems in your relationships?
  • Have you ever tried to quit drugs without having success?
  • Do you find yourself craving to use drugs?
  • Do you spend a large amount of time thinking about, obtaining, or using drugs?
  • Do you find yourself engaging in risky sex or high-risk situations because of drugs?

If you or your loved one answered yes to any of the above questions, you’re most likely facing an addiction. It’s important consult a doctor as you don’t want to fall victim to certain health problems due to your addiction.

Basics to Drug Addiction Treatment

Though treatment works differently, depending on the drug you take, there are a variety of common patterns found in treating addiction. What usually differs is the amount of time a person undergoes treatment and the exact effects they’ll feel while being treated. Upon entering a treatment facility, you can expect the following:

1. A medical assessment in which you’ll be tested for a variety of things and asked an assortment of questions. The purpose of all this is to collect information of your current condition as a means of pursuing the best treatment options.

2. A medical detox in which your body will rid itself of the drug’s chemical structure and reform back to its homeostasis – withdrawals. It’s very important you’re under medical supervision during this time there are dangers when withdrawing from certain drugs.

3. Psychotherapies which are meant for treating underlying issues that are brought upon by drug use. These therapies are designed to teach you how to handle everyday emotions and life stressors without drugs being a factor in your life. You’ll also be educated in how to reduce drug cravings. Psychotherapies include:

◦ Family therapy
◦ Group therapy
◦ Individual counseling

4. Pharmacotherapy (medication) is meant for the sake of easing withdrawals and reducing cravings. The medication you receive all depends on the drug of addiction and how severe your addiction is.

5. Education sessions which are designed to inform you of the dangers in drug use and how to prevent relapse.

6. Aftercare services which provide additional support in order to maintain sobriety.

Your Questions

If you have any questions pertaining to the most dangerous drugs or how to treat drug addiction, we invite you to ask them below. If you have any advice to those struggling with addiction or wondering more about the most dangerous drugs, we’d also love to hear from you. We try to reply to each comment in a prompt and personal manner.
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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