Depending on the design and intended purpose, drugs may leave significant effects on the central nervous system, resulting to abnormalities in other body systems. When abused, these addictive drugs are known to cause a negative impact in society, and have become one of the most pressing concerns of governments around the globe.
For the longest time, the issue on drugs has been connected to a great number of crimes, alarming results in medical history, and damage on families and relationships. Based on the World Drug Report 2016 of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, drugs have figured in almost all of the Sustainable Development Goals at the individual, community and national levels.
Drug addiction has undeniably become a bane of society for so many reasons, one of which is the youth’s curiousity on drugs, encouraging drug sellers to provide easier access to these dangerous substances. This results to an even greater desire for people – especially the youth – to experiment on addictive drugs.
The ever-changing composition of drugs these days have made it difficult to set the exact standards that determine how addictive a given substance is. While there’s a lack of research in the area of drug addiction in general, several studies provide greater understanding on the issue.
Most Addictive Drugs Ranked
Below is a list of ten most addictive drugs arranged according to the addiction rating:
With an addiction rating of 1.64, buprenorphine is known as an opioid agonist and serves as a vital drug for the replacement treatment for opioid addiction. Given as a prescription medicine for people who have previous opioid addiction, buprenorphine allows addicts to feel less euphoric, causing the patient to have easier withdrawal.
Furthermore, the drug lessens the patient’s physical dependence on the drug as it blocks most of the major impacts of opioids in the human body.
Usually, the reason why people get hooked on a particular drug is because it significantly eases the treatment of opioid addicts by serving as a transition medication. The result is that instead of completely overcoming drug addiction altogether, most of the previous opioid users who have been prescribed with this drug end up using buprenorphine and become addicted to the stimulation it causes.
It is also worth mentioning that the drug is also used as off-label treatment for depression. The drug is said to cause positive feelings to the person using it as a depression medication. It has also been found out that the drug is difficult to withdraw from, once a person has been addicted to it.
9. Standard Amphetamines (Pure or Mixed Salts)
Commonly used as a treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and the feeling of restlessness and wakefulness, amphetamines have been generally marked with an addiction rating of 1.67. The drug is known as a mixture of various stereoisomers. The primary effect of the drug is that it increases the production of dopamine and norepinephrine, depending on the dosage one takes in.
Because the drug directly acts on neurotransmitters, people who use amphetamines generally feel an overall improvement in their well-being, specifically in their moods and level of energy. The primary reason why people get addicted is because of the energy boost the drug causes, resulting to a feeling of elation and intense stimulation of the senses. When a person takes in a very high dosage of the drug, it it is highly probable that he or she will feel euphoric because of the increased production of dopamine.
Since the euphoria depends on the drug, the feeling quickly fades with time. For it to be maintained, the person will take in more. The cycle, then, will stick to one’s system and will eventually become an addiction to the drug.
Commonly represented by Valium and other similar sedative hypnotic drugs, benzodiazepines ranks eighth on the addictive drugs list, and has an addictive rating of 1.83. This drug acts on the neurotransmitters in the brain by decreasing the overall activity in the central nervous system.
The reason why people get addicted to the drug is because it stimulates the body to relax. The drug has a strong anxiolytic effect, and causes a person to feel mellow, calm, and intensely chill. Most of the recorded benzodiazepine addicts start taking the drug as a medication taken in on a daily basis to help them deal with the stressors they encounter.
Addiction to this drug is a difficult one to overcome because the withdrawal process causes anxiety usually worse than the one experienced prior to taking benzodiazepines.
As a substance that ranks the highest in the frequency of intoxication, alcohol only ranks seventh on the list and comes with an addictive rating of 1.93. Because of its legality, the use of alcohol has been accepted and has become part of events and happenings in almost all parts of the globe. In effect, people are usually blinded from the fact that alcohol in general has a very high potential for addiction.
People try alcohol because it is usually readily available, except in cases wherein liquor ban is being implemented. Furthermore, the presence of alcoholic beverages in events and people’s homes have resulted to the increased urge to try it.
Despite having a relatively low ranking, alcohol addiction or alcoholism is regarded as one of the most harmful issues in society as it causes high rates of crimes and accidents in communities.
With an addiction ranking of 2.01, barbiturates are addictive drugs that primarily decrease the cental nervous activity. Usually, the drug causes sedation of the body, while in some cases it results to anesthetic or pain-relieving effects. However, medical experts have stopped prescribing barbiturates as medication because of its potency to yield negative effects on the body.
Similar to benzodiazepines, barbiturates act on the GABA receptors in the brain and can also cause euphoria. Because of its stimulating ability, people can have very rapid addiction or tolerance on the drug.
In higher doses, the drug can cause a person to have slurred speech and disoriented sense of decision-making. Treatment of barbiturate can be difficult because the withdrawal process usually includes restlessness, tremors, and insomnia.
5. Crystal Meth (d-methamphetamine)
Although an addiction rating wasn’t mentioned in earlier studies, the drug was placed on the fifth spot because of the similarities in data found in other research, implying that it can be strategically put in the said spot.
Known as a synthetic stimulant, methamphetamines can cause a person to feel intense happiness and elation. Compared to methamphetamines in powdered form, the crystal formulation is said to have a higher potency.
The effect of the drug is that gives people a state of mind that they are strong and that they can endure anything, and this is because of the increased production of dopamine in the body. Users of this drug get used to this feeling and drown in the cycle, causing them to rely on the drug to prevent themselves from the scenario of having really low dopamine level.
4. Street Methadone
Also known as one of the common opioid replacement medication, street methadone has an addiction rating of 2.08. This drug differs from other replacement medications because it is only used for cases of extreme opioid addiction like heroin.
The drug acts on the normal process of the body to produce endorphins and dopamine. In most cases, methadones become an addictive drug in the process of treating opioid addiction. The usual scenario is that during the treatment, the patient will literally just replace opioid with methadone as his or her drug because of the feelings it causes.
The feeling of “high” that addictive drugs usually give is also caused by methadones, and creates an addiction for the one using it.
Commonly represented in the form of cigarettes and other tobacco products, nicotine ranks third on our list and has an addiction rating of 2.21. Nicotine is known to cause several illnesses like cancer and failure of the body organs.
Despite this, people keep puffing it into their systems. One reason is that although there have been efforts to control smoking, nicotine is not prohibited, at least for those at a legal age.
The potency of this drug has been proven over the years, shown by the increased of number of deaths related to illnesses which are caused by smoking. One of the reasons why nicotine is highly addictive is that it gives the body a relaxing effect.
Nicotine addiction is difficult to overcome because puffing a cigarette signals body receptors to cause cravings for the chemicals that nicotine is composed of. Withdrawal from it also causes one to be hypersensitive, resulting to wild mood swings.
2. Cocaine / Crack Cocaine
Filling in the second spot on our list, crack cocaine has an addiction rating of 2.39. This drug is smoked, causing the drug to reach the brain faster than its other forms.
Because cocaine acts on the body’s natural production of dopamine, a person who is taking crack will feel lively, active, energetic and powerful. This rewarding effect is the main reason why people get easily hooked to the drug. The usual capacity of the body to take on daily tasks is increased by crack cocaine in intense levels.
The body becomes easily tolerant and immune to the drug, and this causes people to take in larger amounts each time they use it to prevent dopamine levels to drop dramatically.
1. Heroin (diacetylmorphine)
At the highest rank on our addictive drugs list, heroin has an addiction rating of 3.00. Known as a drug with similar effects to morphine, the drug stimulates numbness from pain and also from reality. This causes one to feel that psychologically high and physically powerful.
The usual reason why people try and get addicted to drugs is because they want to escape from their realities. Heroin is an effective ingredient in a person’s escape plan since the drug goes into the bloodstream and binds with receptors, causing a person to feel deep relaxation and intense feeling of high.
Addiction to heroin generally changes a person’s control of his or her psychological well-being. Those that are in the process of treating heroin addiction often feel anxious, tired but restless, and hypersensitive.
About the Addiction Rating
The ratings for addiction was first used by David Nutt, a researcher from London’s Imperial College. He ranked the addictive drugs based on the degree of pleasure, physical dependence, and psychological dependence. Although these findings weren’t recognized as sound research at the time of its release, Nutt’s study paved the way for better understanding about the potential addictive effects of the most commonly abused substances.