What is the most addictive drug?

close-up of hard drugs and drug paraphernalia

The Problem of Drug Addiction

When we think of drug abuse, arrest for possession, bail for drug charges, and all that can be involved, we typically think of illegal drugs. Today, we have the added concern of drug abuse of prescription medications too, and the dangers that can create. Yes, the medications that were intended to heal us have become a problem, giving the term “drug abuse” another whole viewpoint.

What are the major causes of drug abuse?

A lot of research and studies have been conducted to find “the” cause of drug abuse, but nobody has been able to pinpoint it to just one cause. There are reasons to believe it is a genetic predisposition, and other results found that environmental circumstances are reasons, the environmental reasoning that has led to an increase in arrests and the need of posting bail for drug charges. 

Then there is the aspect of belief that co-occurring conditions, which too often have led a person down that path of buying prescription drugs off the street. And then there is the experimenting with drugs, mostly in the pre-adolescents and adolescent age groups. Both of these two “major causes” of drug abuse have got many arrested, faced with drug charges, and posted bail for drug charges, only to end up repeating their actions. 

While genetics, the environment, and co-occurring conditions definitely share ‘blame’ on the drug abuse problem, it is probable that it is a combination of these three risk factors is just as much aid in the problem. From having an alcoholic or drug-using parent to living in an area that is oppressed, or living in an unstable home environment, these factors all tend to be tied together, resulting in more arrests and more people posting bail for drug charges. 

What is the most heavily abused drug?

We can’t deny that drug use is all around us today. It is in bathrooms, on street corners, in our schools, and at work. From marijuana and prescription drugs to cocaine, meth, and pain killers, you don’t have to look hard to find drugs today. What may surprise many is that the most heavily abused drug is in our refrigerators that are finding more people posting bail for drug charges: Alcohol. 

Yes, we’re talking about alcohol. Too many of us perhaps aren’t considering alcohol to be a “drug”, but more than half of this country’s population can be classified as a drinker. The number one abused substance, with 86 million members of the abuser category, is alcohol. These are people that admittedly have heavy alcohol use or have binge drank. It also includes underage drinking, the starting line for alcohol abuse. 

Other drug abuse categories include the following from a study done in 2012: 

  • Tobacco: Almost 70 million Americans, 12 years old and up were using tobacco. Between the ages of 12 and 17, almost 55 percent had smoked within the last 30 days at the time of this survey.
  • Marijuana: This came in as the 2nd most abused drug in 2012 with almost 19 million users. That number has likely increased significantly in the last 10 years with more legalization in place. Of the 8 million classified illicit drug users, over 4 million were dependent on marijuana. 
  • Prescription Drugs:  Almost two-and-half million people were using prescription drugs for non-medical use for the first time. This included prescriptions for Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, and other painkillers. 

Other drugs being abused in 2012 included barbiturates including Ativan, Lorazepam, and Xanax. Cocaine, stimulants, hallucinogens, heroin, and methamphetamines rounded out the list of most abused drugs in this country. With the increased use of these drugs, so did the number of arrests and the need for posting bail for drug charges, if bail was granted by the judge. 

What are the most dangerous drugs to get addicted to?

Several drugs have the power to be dangerous, including alcohol. While not every drug is equal in the danger, harm, and risk they create for everyone that is abusing them, some are worse than others. The top three most dangerous to become addicted to are:

  • Alcohol
  • Fentanyl
  • Methamphetamine

All three of these are the “worst” drug because they each are uniquely dangerous in their own way. Again, alcohol is at the top of the list, and most people would ask why, what is about alcohol that makes it so dangerous in being easily addictive? 

  • Meets all the items on the list at being a problem
  • Easily and widely available
  • Short-term risky
  • Long-term risky
  • Creates addiction 
  • Results in use disorders 

The number of DUI and DWI arrests and the number of denied and granted bail for drug charges for these arrests is all proof of the things listed. 

What are the effects of drug abuse?

There are different effects of the many different drugs being abused. They can be long-lasting mentally and physically, they are too often permanent though, including death. The effects can be far-reaching, impacting every organ in the body. Drug addiction side effects include: 

  • Immune system weakens, increasing the possibilities of illnesses and infections
  • Heart condition possibilities increase including abnormal heart rates, heart attacks
  • Increased risks of blood vessel infections and collapsed veins from IV use
  • Abdominal pain and nausea increase, leading to appetite changes and weight loss
  • Liver is strained, increasing the risk of liver damage or liver failure
  • Brain damage, seizures, strokes, and mental confusion possibilities increased
  • Risk of lung disease increases
  • Problems with attention, decision-making, and memory affect the day-to-day life
  • Global effects of health problems include male breast development, body temperature increases, and multiple other health problems

How do drugs affect the brain?

And can drugs affect your mental health? Mind-altering drugs interfere with how neurons send, receive, and process signals, by slowing them down or speeding them up. The chemical structure of some drugs, like marijuana and heroin, mimic natural neurotransmitters and activate the neurons. This in turn affects other parts of the human body like the blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and body temperature. 

How do drugs affect behavior?

With the neurons being affected, it only makes sense this will affect the behavior of a person that is abusing drugs.  Thinking clearly and your member become problematic, you are unable to pay attention, leading to poor work performance.  Your social behavior is affected, which can lead to arrests and the need to post bail for drug charges.  All this together affects your personal relationships with your spouse, children, extended family, and friends. 

What is drug tolerance?

Drug tolerance is when a person doesn’t have the same response to a drug as they once did, requiring a higher dose to achieve the same effect they did at first. It takes more and more of a drug to get the level of “high” desired.

drugs and handcuffs sitting on a wooden table

Is There an End in Sight? 

We read the numbers of people arrested and posted bail for drug charges. We read the statistics of death by drugs, but do we see how can drug abuse be prevented? It needs to start with the youth and their parents monitoring and supervising are key to our youth and their possibility of drug use. 

There isn’t any guaranteed method or way to prevent anyone from abusing alcohol and drugs, but there are things we can all do: 

  • Understanding drug abuse and how it develops. 
  • Avoid peer pressure and the temptations that bring with it. 
  • Pursue help for mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, or PTSD. 
  • Assess the risk factors like family history of addiction and mental illness.
  • Maintain a well-balanced life, keep busy, keep a full life, and set goals.

If it takes a village, we need to form that village for the person(s) that need the village.