It has long been known that drug abuse is harmful to the body, but what are the most damaging drugs? The most detrimental one may really surprise you.
How Are The Most Damaging Drugs Classified?
In a study conducted by Professor David Nutt, he considered 16 different factors when classifying and ranking 20 different drugs including the drug’s effects on a user’s physical and mental health, as well as its social, economic, and environmental ills.
Benzodiazepines, also known as benzos, rank tenth on the list of most detrimental drugs. Benzos are commonly prescribed by doctors for patients with anxiety, bipolar disorders, and sleep disorders. Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, Valium, and Versed are all examples of benzos. When abused benzos can cause slurred speech, decreased heart rate, and comas. They can also be fatal if mixed with alcohol or other drugs, or if an individual takes too much at one time.
GHB or Gamma Hydroxybutyrate is commonly known as a “club drug” or “date rape drug.” GHB is a central nervous system depressant and many users report feeling euphoria, tranquility, and increased sex-drive as its positive effects. It is usually colorless and odorless, so it is notorious for being slipped into unsuspecting club-goers drinks and rendering them incapacitated. Xyrem is the only pharmaceutical form of GHB currently on the market, it is a highly restrictive schedule III drug used to treat narcolepsy. If GHB is taken in a high dose or mixed with alcohol it can result in breathing depression, seizure, coma, or even death.
Cannabis is a plant that people smoke, vape, or take in as oils or gummy candies. Cannabis contains THC which can produce a high effect among users. Cannabis is becoming increasingly more popular as a medicine used to treat various conditions like insomnia and chronic pain. When abused, cannabis can produce acute memory loss, an increased risk of testicular cancer, gum disease, and impaired judgment. A serious danger of cannabis is users driving high with impaired judgment and slowed motor function, which puts them at a greater risk of causing a car accident.
At number seven, amphetamines are usually prescribed to treat attention-deficit-hyperactive disorder. These include Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, Dexedrine, Focalin, Metadate, and Methylin. Amphetamines produce an effect on the body similar to cocaine but have a slower onset and longer duration. Chronic abuse of amphetamines can cause a psychosis similar to schizophrenia, and overdose can cause death.
Tobacco is made from dried and fermented tobacco plant leaves and contains highly addictive nicotine. Once absorbed into the bloodstream, nicotine causes the brain to release adrenaline and activates the brain’s reward center releasing dopamine. Tobacco use has been linked to a higher risk of certain cancers, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, pneumonia, and cataracts. Tobacco kills up to half of its users, that’s more than 8 million people every year. 7 million of those deaths are caused by smoking tobacco, the other 1.2 million are caused by secondhand smoke.
Cocaine is a white powder derived from the Coca plant and is usually taken by snorting or injecting it. Cocaine users report feeling alert, powerful, and confident while high, but uncomfortable both mentally and physically when the drug wears off. Ingesting too much cocaine or mixing it with other substances can cause seizures, breathing difficulties, and even death.
Also known as meth, methylamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant. It affects the central nervous system and causes the brain to release high levels of dopamine, reinforcing drug-taking behavior. It can be smoked, snorted, injected, or swallowed in pill form. The high from meth is short-lived, which causes many users to repeatedly take the drug over and over. Those who inject meth are at a greater risk to contract hepatitis B and C and HIV. The use of meth can also cause increased brain and nerve damage to those with HIV. Long-term consequences of meth use include dental decay, hallucinations, violent behavior, changes in brain structure and function, and sores from scratching. Overdosing on meth can cause serious health complications and even death.
Crack is chemically the same as cocaine, however, crack cocaine is usually smoked rather than snorted or injected. Because it is smoked, crack offers a quicker, more short-lived high, and is the most addictive form of cocaine. Rarely sudden death can occur on the first use of crack, but more commonly crack-related deaths are from cardiac arrest or seizures, followed by respiratory arrest in more frequent users.
Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine. Heroin can be smoked, snorted, or injected, and once inside the bloodstream, it binds to opioid receptors in the brain. This causes a pleasurable high and a false sense of well-being. Long-term effects of heroin include liver and kidney damage, collapsed veins from the repeated injection, insomnia, lung issues, and mental disorders. Heroin overdose can cause serious health issues or if the person stops breathing even death.
Alcohol tops the list of most damaging drugs because it is so widely used. It is the most commonly used psychoactive substance in the world. People who use alcohol report a warm happy feeling, lowered inhibitions, and blurred vision. Alcohol can cause weight gain, damage to your liver, heart, and brain, mental health issues, and increase your risk of certain cancers. In addition to harming your body, drinking alcohol may make a risk to other people. Drunk driving-related accidents account for almost 30 percent of road deaths in the United States every year. Alcohol’s widespread availability and easy accessibility make it one of the most common and most dangerous drugs available today.
Contact Ardu Recovery Center
Regardless if you are abusing the most damaging drugs or something less harmful, drug abuse can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health. Take the first step in getting your life back today and contact us at Ardu Recovery Center. We offer a wide variety of drug and alcohol detox and rehab programs to suit your individual needs and make getting clean as easy as possible. We are located in the beautiful Provo, Utah.