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The 5 Most Addictive Substances and Statistics Everybody Should Know



The 5 most addictive substances and statistics everybody should know

For many years, researchers have been debating on which substances have to be classified as the “most addictive”.  However, no unanimity agreement has been reached so far although a group of drug addiction experts from Britain has been able to come up with the five most addictive drugs on the planet. Due to the lack of a definitive system to rank the extent of addictiveness for various drugs, the researchers came up with their own rating system which considered the following aspects:

  • The degree  to which a drug  activates the  brain’s dopamine system
  • The extent of pleasure delivered from the drug
  • The severity of the withdrawal symptoms
  • How easily a person trying the drug for the first time is likely to be addicted
  • The street value of the drug
  • The degree of the physical and mental harm caused by the drug

For clarity purposes, the term addiction in this study was considered to be the obsessive substance-seeking behavior whereby the users cannot function normally without using the drugs. Actually, the withdrawal from these drugs can lead to severe symptoms which sometimes would require some form of clinical intervention. From the study, the following drugs were considered the most addictive and therefore it is essential for everybody to understand the facts about them


Heroine tops the list as being the most addictive drug in the world.  It is actually believed that one out of four people who try out this drug for the first time will become addicted at some point in their life.  In the study, the drug was assigned an addictiveness score of 2.5 out of 3 which of course was the highest of all the drugs.  The reason why heroin is dangerous is that the dosage which can lead to death is just five times more than the one which makes the user become “high”.  Therefore, the margin between the zone of “highness” and death is very minimal.


Alcohol took the second position with the capability of increasing the levels of dopamine in the brain by as much as 360%.  For those not familiar with dopamine, it is a chemical substance in the brain which performs a lot of activities such as regulating movement as well as involved in reward and motivation. The increase of this chemical will encourage a person to perform a certain activity repeatedly especially which led to its increase. Alcohol causes a death rate of 360 million people per year.


Research shows that cocaine has a usage rate of 14-20 million people per year making it one of the most abused drugs on the planet. The drug functions by causing an abnormal activation of the brain neurons making the user become addicted. Approximately 21% of the first-time users of cocaine become addicted to the drug at some point in their life.

Barbiturates (“downers”)

These drugs are used in the medical fraternity to treat anxiety as well to prompt sleep. However, they have been abused by many people and it goes by many street names such as pink ladies.


This is a stimulant substance found in tobacco products and forms the highest addiction rate in the United States. According to research done in this area of stimulants, more than 2/3 of Americans who try tobacco products reports addictions at some points in their life.

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