10 of the Most Dangerous Drugs

5. Tobacco

Smoking tobacco

Cigarettes, the world’s most popular way to kill yourself!

AKA: Snout

Price: $

If anything else killed up to 20% of the population prematurely then you might expect the government to frown on it. But here we have a highly addictive drug that causes the slow painful death of millions worldwide every year and it is perfectly legal. It does make you wonder about the authorities motivations for controlling other drugs though.

But everybody knows smoking kills you so we’ll move on.

4. Alcohol


Hard liquor – © The D

Price: $

The fact alcohol is legal in most countries is the main reason it is not higher up the list. There is little doubt that alcohol addiction will mess you up but the fact it is legal means many can just about hold things together and put on a veneer of normality. That is until their liver gives up and everyone close to them leaves.

3. Crystal Meth

Crystal meth

Crystal meth – methamphetamine © Radspunk

Price: $$$

Methamphetamine, or crystal meth, has actually been around since the 1890s. Its first recorded use was by the Nazis in World War II, when it was used as a stimulant by fighter pilots and tank commanders. The drug then reappeared in 1950s America as an anti-obesity product. Remember those diet pills you heard about people getting addicted to – crystal meth!

These days methamphetamine has a very different reputation. If you believe the media there is a a veritable epidemic of crystal meth has swept across the U.S. turning users into skeletal zombies within a matter of weeks. Although this is certainly not what happens to everyone who tries methamphetamine it is one of an elite class of drugs where there is virtually no bottom to how bad it can get.

Whilst in some ways similar to other amphetamines crystal meth is both more addictive and much worse for your body. The effects of crystal meth are likened to crack cocaine, but lasting much, much longer.
However, methamphetamine is a neurotoxin; it works by flooding the brain with  high levels of dopamine which creates the feelings of euphoria. Ironically it also damages the dopamine receptors meaning you will need ever increasing doses of meth and leading to long term emotional problems. There is also evidence of that long term meth use destroys the brain’s grey matter.

Methamphetamine is known to be an aphrodisiac and can prolong sexual activities. It is not unheard of for meth-fuelled sex parties to go on for days. On the negative side, a direct correlation between high-risk sexual practices and related infections has been seen with crystal meth abuse.

One of the best known side effects suffered by meth addicts is what the drug does to the skin. The drug itself causes skin conditions such as acne which are compounded by the lifestyle and lack of personal-care. This is further compounded by addicts often compulsively and obsessively picking their skin of their face causing open sores. The other classic result of meth abuse is “meth mouth”. This chronic tooth decay is the combination of a dry mouth and the complete lack of oral hygiene when addicts become totally self-neglecting..

Along with all the meth specific risk are several common to other drugs. There is psychosis, risk of heart attack or stroke and possible death by overdose. This combined with the fact most addicts will need to resort to crime to pay for their habit is why crystal meth features on our list.

2. Heroine

Heroine cooking

Cooking up some heroine

AKA: H, junk, horse, smack, skag, brown

Price: $$$

It was a difficult choice between heroine and crystal meth but from what I’ve read heroine wins out on the most dangerous drugs stakes. There are three main reasons for this the first of which is heroine is just more dangerous. Whilst taking too much meth might not do you any good it is a lot more difficult to kill yourself with an OD than it is with heroine. In fact it is all to easy to accidentally overdose on heroine. One reason is it doesn’t take that much, but the main reason is that no one has a clue how pure the stuff you get on the street is. Every set of hands it passes through it gets cut with some other dirty white powder. Until that is, one day you get some that is 50 or 60% pure. This might contain three or four times the dose you’ve been taking and that’s enough to kill you.

Then there is the physical withdrawal. Once addicted kicking the habit is going to involve a whole world of pain. Whilst generally no worse than a case of flu this can be more than enough to discourage the addict to try quitting. Of course stopping using is also going to involve dealing with the psychological addiction too. So heroine is probably the hardest of all drugs to give up.

One of heroine’s worst attributes is the drug’s ability to practically take over a user’s soul so that nothing else matters. None of the other drugs at the top of this list will sap the life out of you quite like heroine. It will be the only thing you think about from the moment you wake up and junkies will do anything just to get the next fix.

1. Cocaine

Crack cocaine

Crack cocaine

AKA: Coke, blow, charlie, crack, rock

Price: $$$$

Cocaine may be regarded as the champagne of drugs by some, and the price tag reflects that. However, I wouldn’t take the price of any of these drugs too seriously. At the end of the day, once you develop a serious addiction to any of the top three, it will cost you all your money, and probably your soul too!

Despite having the status of the celebrity drug of choice, as used by models, rock-stars and Wall Street traders, cocaine is surprisingly commonplace. One study suggested nearly 10% of young adults in the U.S. had used cocaine within the last year. With effects including a sense of euphoria, limitless energy and god-like feelings why wouldn’t it be popular?
But unsurprisingly it is highly addictive. Coke acts on the primal reward areas of the brain which are normally triggered via, for example, sex or eating food we like. This makes the cravings for cocaine powerful.

As well as being bad for your wallet cocaine is particularly bad for you with more emergency room visits in the U.S. being caused by it than any other illegal drug. There are few parts of the body cocaine does not adversely effect but the most significant risks are sudden death from heart attack or stroke.

Whilst the physical effects of withdrawal are relatively minor the psychological addiction can be hard to break with some users even becoming suicidal. Although the process may only last 2 weeks a cocaine addict may experience cravings for the drug years down the line.

Of course the powerful effects of cocaine weren’t quite enough for everyone. Although you can inject coke, it is dangerous and apparently gives a very strong but short-lived rush. This is why crack came about. You can’t effectively smoke coke but this is how you take crack. The result is a more powerful but shorter lived hit, followed by a nasty come down. This makes crack even more addictive than normal cocaine.

Crack has all the same risks as other forms of cocaine plus smoking it is very bad for your lungs. There is also a higher risk of overdosing due to increased cravings.


In conclusion; there are some drugs that people can live with, some for a long time. These may be legal or illegal and how long you live a relatively healthy life on these is somewhat of a lottery. There are however some drugs that even if you have all the money in the world and a guaranteed pure source are still going to mess you up. Take your pick from crack, meths, heroine or alcohol – if you have an addictive personality type then it probably won’t end happily.


  • George

    seriously? i cant believe you have cocain over krokodil. actually, you dont even have krokodil. its obvious you researched this a lot…

    • surfgatinho

      I did think about krokodil, but decided its use (outside Russia) was pretty limited. As the article is taking into account the social damage, as well as bodily damage, I didn’t include it.
      That said, the list ins’t quite finished and I may change it at some point…

      • Andrew

        Heroin is. The most hardest drug to come off I no 30 years on it an am still battling with it

        • Richard

          Alcohol and tobacco are by far heads and heels above all other drugs in use, abuse, deaths, families, lives ruined and health issues. Alone, either one are related to more deaths than your whole list combined. Ridiculous that neither one is listed but then again, they are not considered glamorous and also legal, making them very easy to be overlooked and forgotten which only adds to their danger

          • surfgatinho

            Er, both of them are on the list, and in the top 5…

  • Lowne Wolfe

    Wrong, ketamine is NOT called k2. K2 and Spice were brand names of products which, in earlier formulations, mimicked cannabis as they activated THC receptors. It was intended to be used as a research chemical and never to be ingested by humans. The K2 brand is no longer sold. K2 is now the street name or slang term for similar products. Each year the current formulation was made illegal, jwh-018 and jwh-073 being the earliest. It is made by spraying the chemical on dried herbs which the user then smokes or vapes. It is sold as “incense” and illegal in most states but not all as the packages say “not for human consumption”. Unlike earlier formulations (which are now all illegal and class I drugs) the latest formulation (am-2201) has been causing kidney failure and digestive issues in MANY MANY users, it has killed many people as well. I can personally attest to k2’s affects, lost kidney function for 2 months myself and I got VERY lucky I didn’t die. But again, ketamine is not called k2.

    • surfgatinho

      You’re right. I’ll fix it when I get round to finishing this article off properly.

  • Misanthropia

    This is why women shouldn’t be housewives or they’ll start taking drugs out of boredom LOL

  • Tom

    This list is pretty ridiculous. There are a LOT of errors. I would know, having been addicted at one point or another to a few of these.

    The Cocaine entry at the top of this list is ridiculous!
    Why Barbs are priced at 1dollar, given that it would cost a FORTUNE to get hold of them if you even could.
    Also, “The first thing to do is forget any government classification of narcotics”. Narcotics actually refers to a specific class of drugs, sedative analgesics…opioids/opiates. This belies the fact you aren’t well-researched in this area – rookie error…
    “Ketamine overdoses are potentially fatal and there is no effective antidote” – Ketamine is one of the safest drugs in terms of overdose! Of all ones to pick for overdose harm! The recreational dose is a tenth of the anaesthetic dose and you would pass out quite healthily before getting enough Ket in your system to overdose. The risk of Ket is when you hole in an unsafe environment.
    Let’s not forget that you neglected:


    You shouldn’t put content out there that is incorrect…it leads to misunderstandings for people believing inexperienced, poorly researched articles. You are doing damage!

    • Just Me

      Tom, rather than creating even more entries for more types of drugs, it makes more sense to group similar drugs together:

      Opioids, such as heroin, methadone, fentanyl, krokodil, etc.

      Stimulants, such as speed, crystal meth, cocaine, flakka, etc.

      Putting drugs like speed and crack different classes with different dangers is like creating a separate category for beer, wine, vodka, and Everclear. Sure, Everclear is more dangerous than beer, but it’s still all the same drug.

      You do have a few important ones on your list which don’t fall into any convenient categories, like Datura and PCP. It’s good not to overlook those, so good catch.

      • Luken

        Except the recreational components of Beer, wine, vodka and everclear are all literally the same chemical.

        Amphetamines, crystal meth, MDMA and cocaine are not. Cocaine isnt even in the same chemical family.

        Their long term effects, how they interact with the body, and the level of danger they present are all completely different regardless of dosage. Lumping them together is uninformative and useless.

        And even if we are talking about effects, calling something a “stimulant” is an extremely vague umbrella term, it doesnt at all mean all the drugs have the same actual effect. Cocaine, MDMA and crystal meth are all “uppers” yet cause completely behavioural patterns.

        Its almost the level of granularity as trying to group alcohol, psilocybin, cannabis, and xanax together as “downers.”

  • Blade2001

    Kroiodil and bath salts are way more dangerours

  • Михаил Отте

    My top 5:

    1. PCP
    2. Datura/Anti-Cholinergics
    3. Meth
    4. Barbituates
    5. Heroin

  • Chowderbatter

    Is there a reason heroin is spelled with an E in this article?

    Also, I’d say tobacco and alcohol have to easily top any list of most deadly. They may or may not be as addictive as other more “dangerous” drugs, but they are so common, so pervasive, and they directly impact non-users in a way that all of the others combined do not. Second hand smoke inhaled by children, family, co-workers, passersby. Alcohol related abuse and fatalities.

    All other drugs combined do not do as much damage as either one of those two alone. It’s not close. And everyone on the planet knows alcohol and tobacco addicts.

  • Luken

    I appreciate the sentiment re alcohol but in a literal deadliness league table of “recreationable” chemicals, alcohol and cocaine aren’t in the big leagues at all.

    Cathinone, fentanyl, myristicin, the ongoing production line of synthetic canniboids, whatever other dystopian substances will be flushed out of the woodwork in future…ethanol is the bigger scheme of things is a fairly mundane and primitive drug.

    Undeserving of its privilege as the “acceptable drug that isn’t even a drug”, far worse than some other drugs in certain ways (not least its paucity of spiritual depth), but still just a middle weight in the danger stakes. Its a fairly solid social drug really, it doesnt alter your mindstate, justs numbs the senses, shuts down higher brain function for a while, charges you with a hangover the next day, then you get on with your life.

    Long terms defects emerge but all matters of the body go south in the end, and no recreational drug in Humankinds current toolkit is going to help you with that.

  • Luken

    Good point. I find even the liberal minded to be prone to lax thinking on this topic, often failing to differentiate between chemical and mixture, psychoactant and metabolite.

  • Kevin

    This list, and the reasoning behind it, makes it fairly obvious the writer has neither done most (if any) of the drugs on the list; nor bothered use cited, peer reviewed research in his studies. Anyone can type in a drug and find one article riddled with speculation and half truths, which is exactly what was done. It’s journalists like this that make you realize you don’t need a degree, or even a highschool diploma to publish an article and spread the word of an idiot.

    • surfgatinho

      You criticise, yet put forward no alternatives or no actual reason why you disagree – oh, except it doesn’t have citations. Using your same approach I will just say, you’re wrong, but I’m not going to justify or explain that…

  • Kevin

    My previous comment had a lot of errors and poorly written sentences. But who cares, I don’t have a degree, or a high school diploma, and I’m balls deep into the fourth most dangerous drug on this list. Publish me an article.