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.
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
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.
AKA: H, junk, horse, smack, skag, brown
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.
AKA: Coke, blow, charlie, crack, rock
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.