Addiction takes many lives every year. In recent years, overdose death rates have topped 70,000 a year. And this does not take into account drug and alcohol related deaths like drunk driving, death from impaired judgement, or the long-term effects of abusing drugs. Here are some of the most dangerous drugs out there in our opinion, along with why we think these substances are so dangerous.
Fentanyl is first on our list of most dangerous drugs for good reason. It has taken the media cycle over as far as drug abuse goes. As more and more drugs are being laced with this dangerous substance, overdose rates are skyrocketing. A synthetic opioid, fentanyl has made its way from doctors and labs into the hands of drug dealers around the world.
Fentanyl overdose can occur much more easily than a heroin overdose. It takes much less fentanyl to overdose than it does other opioids. Because of this, laced drugs are causing death to unknowing users across the country. Unlike many other drugs on this list, people don’t always search this one out specifically. Instead, it is a surprise that is mixed in with the drug of choice, most often heroin.
Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs, including Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, and more. These drugs are often prescribed to help treat anxiety, although they are often abused without a prescription. Like alcohol, these sedatives affect the GABA receptors and deactivate the central nervous system. Unbeknownst to many, get addicted to Xanax very quickly, with some studies suggesting physical dependence can occur in as little as a few weeks. Addiction can occur even with regular, prescribed use.
Overdose death rates from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show a significant rise in benzodiazepine-related deaths over the last few decades. Although drugs like opioids have taken the spotlight, we are seeing huge increases in benzodiazepine abuse in the United States. Overdose can happen when abused by itself, and is much more likely when the drug is mixed with other sedatives like opioids. In addition, the withdrawal process can be quite painful and even physically dangerous.
Speedballs are unique to this list, because they are not just one drug. Instead, a speedball is a mixture of stimulants and depressants, most often heroin and cocaine. Users mix these drugs together to help negate side effects of one another. In addition to the risk of overdose, speedballs are highly addictive.
The danger of speedballs is clear. Your system does not know how to respond. As the cocaine may make you feel like you have not taken too much heroin, you may do more. When the cocaine wears off, you are left with an overdose. On the other side, too much cocaine can get your heart rate going and cause problems. Together, these two drugs that come together in a speedball are extremely dangerous to abuse.
Like benzodiazepines, we are grouping many drugs into one category here. Prescription painkillers include various opioid painkillers such as Oxycontin, Vicodin, Norco, and more. Although these substances have an ability to greatly help those struggling with severe and/or chronic pain, they are also highly addictive. Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem, and many teenagers and young adults report having easy access to painkillers.
Like other opioids, prescription drugs carry a risk of overdose. Furthermore, a signficant amount of heroin users began with prescription painkillers. These drugs are flooding our markets, and many people don’t clearly understand the risks involved. Because they are prescribed by a trained doctor, people think they are safe. However, addiction can still develop with prescribed use.
Alcohol is a depressant, and the most commonly used substance across the world. Although it may not seem like one of the most dangerous substances on the surface, it is responsible for quite a few deaths every year. Alcohol related deaths include drunk driving, alcohol poisoning, and liver and kidney disease. With prolonged use, the risk of developing irreversible side effects grows greatly.
If you or somebody you know is struggling with addiction, please reach out for help today. We can help you find treatment options, provide certified interventionists, and sober companionship.