Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. In fact, more Americans die of drug overdoses than in car accidents each year. In light of these staggering statistics, 24/7 Wall St. recently conducted a new study that reviewed and categorized 25 of the most dangerous drugs and drug mixtures. Researchers took into account side effects and death rates tracked by the federal government, as well as potential risk of drug combinations measured by medical information organizations and web sources such as MedScape, WebMD, and the American Medical Association.
The substances on this list span well-known prescription medications, infamous street drugs, and lethal combinations of both. Many of these drugs are generally considered to be safe when taken on their own and under the correct conditions. However, all drugs can be fatal when too much is taken or combined inappropriately with other substances.
Common names for Acetaminophen include Tylenol, Mapap, and Feverall. This drug is regularly used for pain relief and is considered to be the most dangerous on this list due its potential to cause liver damage and toxicity. Acetaminophen is the nation’s leading cause of acute liver failure, according to data from an ongoing study funded by the National Institutes for Health. Analysis of national mortality files shows about 450 deaths occur each year from acetaminophen-associated overdoses; 100 of these are unintentional. Analysis of national databases also show that Acetaminophen-related overdoses account for about 50,000 emergency room visits and 25,000 hospitalizations yearly.
Alcohol is a commonly abused substance sought out for its ability to lower inhibitions. Presently, it is responsible for 88,000 US deaths annually. Alcohol is a depressant and can alter moods when individuals are under the influence and craving alcohol. Side effects of alcohol use can range from slurred speech, to blacking out, and more severe symptoms, like liver disease and comas. Sometimes it can be hard to detect if someone is enjoying alcohol responsibly or struggles with an alcohol use disorder.
Alcohol abuse can occur in drinking stages: social, moderate, binge drinking, and heavy drinking. Heavy drinking is typically considered the most dangerous state. At this point, someone has developed a dependence and will endure painful withdrawal symptoms upon stopping. Additionally, individuals drinking alcohol can deepen their affinity for alcohol over time, risking health-related problems and relationship issues. Heavy and long-term alcohol use can contribute to brain damage, kidney and liver damage, financial loss, poor memory, cancer, higher risk of assault, irritability, alcohol withdrawal, and Delirium Tremens. If alcohol is combined with Cocaine or Benzodiazepines, someone could risk a fatal overdose.
Nicotine is an extremely lethal substance according to the Centers for Disease Control and the most dangerous drug. It is responsible for costing the United States billions of dollars yearly and over 480,000 deaths in recent years. Despite these findings, smoking cigarettes “is the leading preventable cause of death.” Tobacco destroys the body’s vital organs, most commonly the lungs and throat. It is highly addictive and sought out for its ability to produce relaxation. Another dangerous component of tobacco is its ability to cause secondhand smoke. Individuals who do not smoke but live with a smoker risk lung-related illness and death through smoke.
Smoking cigarettes, “causes 90% of all lung cancer deaths,” claiming the lives of women more than men. Furthermore, individuals who smoke tobacco products worsen their risk of death by stroke, coronary heart disease, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) if combined with alcohol and/or other harmful chemicals. Tobacco remains legal and has become popular with young users who use e-cigarettes. Tobacco users will note the difficulty in quitting cold turkey, and often times, nicotine patches and other methods are necessary to quit.
Benzodiazepines, sometimes called “benzos,” are anti-anxiety medications that include Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin. Benzodiazepine drugs rank high on this list due to the high prescription rate and increased risk of deadly respiratory depression that occurs when taking the medications. The risk of experiencing negative side effects is significantly heightened when combined with other drugs, particularly barbiturates, opioids, and alcohol. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), benzos were involved in 31% of all overdose deaths during the year 2017.
Another highly addictive Opioid, Heroin is responsible for killing around 16,000 users in 2016. As such, Heroin ranks as one of the most deadly drugs available in the world today. Furthermore, because Heroin is oftentimes combined with other synthetic chemicals, like Fentanyl, a user can encounter fatality upon first use.
Since Heroin is extremely addictive, it can be extremely difficult to quit. Therefore, if one is addicted to this drug, it is vital for their health and safety that they get appropriate detox guidance. Seeking help through an inpatient drug rehab facility is the most effective way to detox and stay sober for the long-run, especially from highly addictive drugs like Heroin.
Unfortunately this highly addictive and dangerous drug has become more and more popular as time has gone on, rising from 5,070 deaths in 2011 to around 11,316 in 2016. Much like Heroin, Cocaine triggers a “euphoria” experience in user’s due to the large amount of dopamine that gets released when taken.
With its highly damaging effects to the body and mind of the user, Cocaine can cause intense feelings of paranoia, excitability, weight loss, anxiety, and depression. Some withdrawal symptoms often experienced from withdrawal include: agitation and restless behavior, depression, fatigue, feelings of discomfort and uncomfortability, and unpleasant dreams. As such, detoxing off Cocaine can be extremely challenging, as the user typically craves the drug to ward off withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, just as the other drugs require trained medical help to safely detox, it is necessary to the safety of the individual abusing Cocaine to seek professional help when detoxing.
How To Get Help If You Are Addicted To The Most Dangerous Drugs In The World
Attempting to detox off any drug, whether it be on this previously mentioned list or not, can put the user at risk of encountering serious, even fatal, withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, it is never advised that one try to quit a drug by themselves, especially trying to quit cold-turkey. For this reason, it is vital to the safety of the individual struggling with addiction that they seek help through a trained medical professional or an inpatient drug rehab facility that knows how to appropriately and safely detox the individual. Inpatient drug rehabs are particularly helpful when trying to achieve long-term recovery as they remove all distractions and temptations that keep one craving further drug use and provide the care, support, and guidance of trained addiction specialists that can teach one how to maintain lifelong sobriety.