The Riskiest Substances Known to Mankind
For the last century, the United States government has been waging war on many different forms of drugs and alcohol. Ranging from heroin to alcohol to cocaine to pot, and in the last couple of decades, opioids and methamphetamines. The history of drug abuse has been prevalent all over the world. Usually, the drugs are placed into categories depending on the threat of danger they pose to the user.
Some of the dangerous drugs are admittedly more deadly than others, and it seems that every year a new drug hits the news as being an epidemic. In recent years, a much higher rate of “at home” chemicals have been discovered to, when mixed with other chemical substances, create a cheap and easy high for users. Let’s discuss the top 5 most dangerous drugs in recent history.
Our List of the ‘5 Most Dangerous Drugs’
As with most of the drugs that will be on this list, the rise of meth has really increased in the last few decades. The danger lies in the tricks it plays on the mind and body of the user. For example, over an extended period of time, meth tends to trick the body into starvation by decreasing the feeling of hunger from the brain to the organs and leads to intense emaciation and deterioration of the organs.
Shorter term, frequent use can cause not only hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia, and delusions, but it can also give the user over exaggerated fits of psychosis, bursts of strength, aggressiveness, and even finally, convulsions that can lead to death. Over a period of extended use, the constantly raised heart rate and blood pressure can lead to severe onset of Alzheimer’s, stroke, and even heart failure. The dangers of meth have been widely published for the last three decades, but that doesn’t stop the user from becoming addicted, it is considered one of the most addictive mind-altering chemicals on earth.
Reported to be even more addictive than meth, the use of flakka has exploded onto the scene in the last four or five years. Many of us have seen the videos online of flakka users who are overcome by psychotic fits, but from the medical standpoint, flakka is one of the deadliest drugs on the street. The chemical can increase the body temperature to 105 degrees, increasing fever and fits of rage.
Flakka users generally display cases of excited delirium, where they lose touch with reality. The effects have been described to feel like super strength, whereas on the outside, we only see psychotic behaviors and extreme aggression. The dangerous thing about flakka is that the chemicals that go into making it are commonly sold as over-the-counter substances. According to researchers, the possibility of overdose is easy due to the fact that it occurs at only a minute difference in the amount ingested.
What was once reserved for terminally ill patients, and people recovering from major surgery, fentanyl has become, in the last two years, the number one cause of overdose across the country. Primarily used to cut heroin, and increase the effects of the high, fentanyl’s danger lies in its potency and for unknowing users, its quick reaction time in the body.
Sure, heroin has always been a dangerous drug, but since the widespread act of using fentanyl to cut it, overdose rates have skyrocketed in recent months. This breed of fentanyl is manufactured outside of the pharmaceutical laboratories, hence, is not regulated or monitored for potency, and can cause cardiac or respiratory arrest within seconds. Furthermore, fentanyl has a much longer half-life than heroin, and fentanyl addiction is that much more difficult to overcome.
Dubbed the ‘Zombie Drug,’ Krokodil has gained fame as becoming one of the dirtiest, and most dangerous drugs on the market. The store bought chemicals that manufacturers put into the batch literally deteriorate the muscle and skin tissue of the human body. Originating in Russia in the early 2000s, the base recipe consists of codeine, mixed with paint thinner, gasoline, hydrochloric acid, iodine, and red phosphorous from matchbox strike pads.
Even coming from a drug addict like myself, the ingredients are enough to scare me away, never mind the aftermath of the injection. The drug gets its name from the fact that injecting into the veins causes the user’s skin to turn green and scaly, before eventually melting away, leaving massive, canal-like abscesses in the limbs, exposing bone, and tissue, and leaving the user susceptible to infection and diseases. The average life expectancy for a krokodil user is 1-2 years.
What started as an anesthetic has turned into one of the most dangerous drugs on the street today. After becoming popular and receiving a bad reputation in the 80s, the use of PCP seemed to die down for a while. However, in the last decade, it has re-emerged into a widely used party drug by young adults. It is commonly found today to be recreationally used alongside other popular rave drugs like molly, ecstasy, and cocaine.
Similar to flakka, PCP is known to incite extremely high levels of aggression and tolerance of pain in the user. Many police officers who have witnessed PCP users have found them harming themselves or someone else, with little to no regard to what they were doing, and often no moral subjectivity to the violent and psychotic acts they are committing. Besides its addictive qualities, PCP can wreak havoc on the brain and body of the user, usually resulting in an inability to process thought normally, reduced coordination, depression, inability to communicate, and psychosis.
A New and Rising Risk: The ‘ISO’ Drug
While it may not have garnered the notoriety of fentanyl, or become commonly thought of as part of the opioid epidemic, a new synthetic drug known commonly as the ‘Iso drug‘ is claiming lives in Florida and is likely to spread across the country. Isotonitazene is the full name of this relatively new compound, and unlike fentanyl, it was not a part of the medical prescription drug library before spreading to the streets and recreational users. It is reportedly 20 to 100 times more powerful than fentanyl, putting it in the league of carfentanil and other synthetic opioids used largely in veterinary medicine.
In places like Washington DC, a reported 498 opioid users overdosed in a twelve-month span of time, many of them due to taking isotonitazene itself or other opioids adulterated with this potent form of ‘research chemical.’ Just as with fentanyl, it is likely this trend will occur nationwide, of drug dealers using an incredibly powerful drug to strengthen weak supplies and create counterfeit pills made with little more than filler, dyes, and synthetic opioids.
Even the Most Dangerous Drugs Can Be Quit Succesfully
Although all of these chemicals are dangerous and life-threatening, if the use of the chemical can be halted, the user can recover from their addiction. Obviously, with prolonged use of any of these chemicals comes severe mental deterioration and emotional instability, but with drug treatment, therapy and proper medication, once addicted users can lead an almost completely normal life again.
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Charles F. has been an active part of the Florida recovery community for over 5 years. He began as a behavioral health technician at an addiction treatment facility in Ocala, Florida and has since begun training as a Licensed Addiction and Chemical Dependency counselor in Boca Raton. Charles’ passion involves the promotion of recovery and helping spread the hope of recovery to as many readers as possible!