Most Addictive Drugs

What are the most addictive drugs?

What are the most addictive drugs?  This is quite an interesting question to ask as most addicts will tell you all drugs are highly addictive, but within the medical community; and funny enough conversations among persons whom have never used drugs, this is quite the topic of conversation.  As a former addict I am with the thinking that all drugs are addictive, and every drug provides a chemical hook.  Each chemical hook provides a different release for the person using it and by definition can be the most addictive drug as it is the one that provides the high they want.  However, when you look at the chemistry with some of these drugs, scientifically they can be classified in how addictive they actually are and what type of damage they do.  Interesting enough as a former addict and having lived that lifestyle I’ve seen other users go from drug to drug, which does touch on the topic or myth of drug induced addictions, which does add more insight into this discussion of what is the most addictive drug, but that is a different interesting study in its self.

What are the most addictive drugs as seen by the world today?  In a 2007 study conducted by Professor David Nutt, who a Neuro-Psycho Pharmacologist in Britain; he developed a scale to look at the harm of drugs when there misuse took place.  These included three different categories which were: the physical harm caused by the drug to the individual, the drugs ability to induce dependence, and the effect the drug has on families, society and communities.  Physical harm meaning the damage to the body, its systems, and organs; the way the drug was taken was also looked at, such as drugs taken intravenously.  Dependence of the drug meaning the pleasurable effects caused by the drug to produce a dependent behavior, and the effects the drug as it has on families, community, and society is pretty self explanatory, but more specifically how it damages families and society, and the costs incurred by health care.  Professor Nutt rated these drugs on a scale from one to three; as this study was done in Britain the U.K. Misuse of Drugs Act classifies drugs in three categories, A, B, and C.  The one drug that stood out the most in the study was heroin; a class A drug in Britain, and it was rated as 3.0, meaning it was the most addictive and destructive drug based on the three above mentioned categories.  This conclusion was determined by comparing the drugs to pre-determined assessment parameters, which were created for the study.  The parameters included:  Acute, chronic, intravenous harm, intensity of pleasure, psychological dependence, physical dependence, intoxication, other social harms, and health care costs.  With all the recent studies done in the United States for example, and rising health care costs associated with heroin I can understand why this drug has this kind of reputation.  Heroin scored very high across the board within all of these assessment parameters.

This risk assessment was conducted on countless drugs by means of questionnaires, discussions, and panels; the drugs included heroin being at the top of the scale, cocaine following it, then came barbiturates, and street methadone, with such drugs as GHB and ecstasy being at the far end of the scale.  This study has shown based on the above assessment scale what drugs do the most damage and can be considered the most addictive.  Individual experiences with each drug will of course be different, and every user will have a different view on what is the most addictive drug.  Getting back onto heroin; in a recent article from USA Today, the author quoted a study done by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which indicated that as of 2013 just under 700,000 people had used heroin, and most adults over the age of 26 had used heroin.  When you look at these numbers from 2002 up until now, there has been a steady increase of an average of 25,000 people each year whom have used heroin.  Although the larger percentages of users are marijuana users and prescription drug users, heroin has been on a very destructive path throughout the United States.

Scientifically I understand how heroin can be considered the most addictive drug; when taken intravenously, how it impacts a person physiologically, the dependence it creates, and the impact it has on society, i.e. health care costs, families, and communities.  Personally I have seen many people become severely addicted to this drug, and during my time working at treatment centers I have seen so many individuals go through the dope sickness and withdrawals in their attempts to get clean and sober.  From a perspective of a former drug user, each drug could be considered the most addictive drug, as each drug will provide a specific chemical hook that the user may be looking for.  With that being said I have seen other studies that have put nicotine, heroine, cocaine, alcohol, caffeine, and marijuana as being considered popular addictive drugs.  Every drug user finds his or her drug of choice, that one substance that gives them the fix and high they need.  Broken down chemically these drugs can be classified from most addictive to least addictive, but for a former drugs users classification…it’s a mixed bag.

Most Addictive Drugs ©