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Top 10 Most Dangerous Drugs

a female doctor appears ready to tell you about the top 10 most dangerous drugs

One of the leading causes of accidental death nationwide is drug overdose. The majority of overdoses can be traced back to drugs in the opioid family. In fact, of the 10 most dangerous drugs, six of them are opioids. Many people are not even aware of how deadly some drugs can be. Meanwhile, others are painfully knowledgeable about the devastation the 10 most dangerous drugs can cause. Regardless of your prior context, read on to find out about the ten most dangerous drugs in America.

Contact 855.732.4842 to access help and addiction support through Rockland Recovery’s drug addiction treatment program.

10 Most Dangerous Drugs

The following list captures the ten most dangerous drugs based on data indicating the number of overdoses they cause each year. The list is ranked from most dangerous to least dangerous, where the most dangerous drug is responsible for the highest number of overdoses annually. The ten most dangerous drugs are:

  1. Fentanyl
  2. Heroin
  3. Cocaine
  4. Methamphetamine
  5. Alprazolam
  6. Oxycodone
  7. Morphine
  8. Methadone
  9. Hydrocodone
  10. Diazepam

As indicated earlier, six of the 10 most dangerous drugs hail from the opioid family. These are fentanyl, heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, and morphine. The opioid crisis is driven by these drugs, which are a combination of illegal substances and prescription medications. Fentanyl, the most dangerous drug on the list, is explored in more detail in the following section.

The Most Dangerous Drug: Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a powerful pain reliever. While it is primarily dealt and used illegally, it does continue to have limited medical uses. The potency of fentanyl is best compared to other drugs of its kind. For instance, fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than heroin and 100 times more powerful than morphine. Even small amounts can trigger an overdose.

Complicating the matter further is the fact that fentanyl is often mixed with other substances. Fentanyl already tops the list of the ten most dangerous drugs. Combining it with drugs like heroin and cocaine compounds the risk and danger. Recent data points to around 40% of cocaine overdoses involving fentanyl and about one-third of fentanyl overdoses involving heroin.

Not that long ago, fentanyl was an afterthought when it came to the most dangerous drugs. Nothing really has changed about the drug’s effects. It has always been incredibly powerful. What has changed is its prevalence in the market. Exacerbated by the opioid crisis, as people who struggle with addiction seek stronger drugs, fentanyl has come to dominate the illegal drug marketplace.

Other Categories of Drugs in the Top 10

With opioids making up 60% of the top ten, that leaves four other spots for drugs from other categories. Those spots are taken by drugs that are classified as benzodiazepines and stimulants.

Benzodiazepines, also called benzos for short, are used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. The two that appear on the top ten list are alprazolam and diazepam. They are more commonly known as Xanax and Valium. Benzos can be incredibly helpful in remediating anxiety issues and sleep problems. Yet the fact remains that these drugs can be addictive. When abused, they can also cause seizures and impaired brain functioning.

Stimulants are responsible for the remaining two spots in the top ten. The two stimulants that make the list are cocaine and methamphetamine. Stimulants boost energy and alertness, often causing a pleasurable high. Cocaine and methamphetamine combined account for about a quarter of all overdose deaths nationwide.

Get Help with Drug Addiction at Rockland Recovery

For every overdose caused by the 10 most dangerous drugs, numerous more addictions exist that are in danger of experiencing an overdose. Drug addiction treatment like the services offered by Rockland Recovery aims to prevent overdose. Even more, comprehensive recovery services are designed to beat addiction and transform lives so that they are defined by sober living.

Learn more about the drug addiction treatment programs available at Rockland Recovery by calling 855.732.4842.

Medical Reviewer Kate Perfetti, LADC II

Medically Reviewed by Kate Perfetti, LADC II

Kate is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor who has worked in the field of substance abuse for the last nine years. At Rockland Recovery, Kate works to provide resources to the local community and engage and progress Rockland Recovery’s alumni program.


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