Drug addiction has become the most common threat for the youth all around the world. It is engulfing them deep and destroying their lives. In today’s busy and competitive world, people are facing a lot of pressure to stay in the competition with each other. This is causing a sense of stress and depression among the people, forcing them to take the path of drugs to deal with such situations. However, some people administer drugs just for fun.
A drug is a chemical substance which has physiological effects on the body when introduced into the body. The drugs at initial stage provides a feeling of pleasure and relief, but slowly-slowly it makes the people its slave by causing addiction. And finally this addiction leads them to the horrible destination of death.
Any drug that creates a chemical imbalance in a person’s body or causes harmful effects can be considered dangerous and are usually illegal or illicit drugs.
In light of the staggering statistics of deaths due to drugs in the United States of America, 24/7 Wall St. conducted a study in 2019 that reviewed 25 of the most dangerous drugs in the world. These drugs are categorized according to their extent of side effects and threat of death.
The Top 8 Most Dangerous Drugs
Acetaminophen sold under the name of Tylenol, is an analgesic (pain reliever) and antipyretic (fever reducer) drug. It is effective for fever reducing and relieving pains such as headaches, dental issues, accidents, minor injuries, menstruation or pain from surgical operations.
Acetaminophen blocks pain by inhibiting the synthesis of prostaglandin, a natural substance in the body that initiates inflammation. It reduces fever by acting on the hypothalamus region of the brain which regulates temperature.
It can be administered orally or intravenously or as a suppository. The side effects of causing liver damage, liver toxicity and death puts acetaminophen on the top of this list.
Alcohol is a toxic and psychoactive substance causing inebriant effects, i.e., excitement and narcosis. Also it has depressing effects on the central nervous system.
Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream through stomach and small intestine, broken down to its metabolites into the liver and eliminated from the body. Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, changing mood and behaviour, making it harder to think clearly and disturbs the coordination.
Alcohol intoxication affects one’s heart (causing high blood-pressure, arrhythmia, stroke, etc), liver (fatty liver, fibrosis, cirrhosis), pancreas (pancreatitis), weakens the immune system and even causes cancer and in severe cases death is also caused.
Benzodiazepines (BZDs) are synthetic drugs acting as tranquilizers which relieve anxiety and mental tension. Commonly used benzodiazepines include diazepam, xanax, triazolam, lorazepam, valium, etc.
BZDs facilitate the binding of inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA at various GABA receptors throughout the central nervous system slowing down the activity of the brain and have relaxing, sedative effects that help in treatment of anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks and panic disorders.
BZDs are one of the most common drugs used in criminal activities. Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) is used in drug-facilitated sexual assaults and also referred as ‘date-rape drug’.
BZDs intoxication causes depression, fibromyalgia, hypoxia, coma and respiratory depression.
Anticoagulants are the medicines that help prevent blood clots. They are also known as blood thinners.
Anticoagulants limit the generation of thrombin (clotting factor) and inhibit the activity of thrombin that exists, which prevents blood clot formation. Commonly used anticoagulants are Warfarin, Heparin, Xarelto, etc.
Excessive use of anticoagulants can cause internal ans external bleeding, strokes, transient ischemic attack (TIAs), heart attacks, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
Antidepressants are the drugs used generally in psychiatric practice to treat endogenous depression. These medications are used to alleviate symptoms associated with depression such as fatigue, loss of interest, trouble sleeping, overwhelming feelings of guilt or worthlessness or thoughts of suicide.
Commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs are the reuptake inhibitors- Selective Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), Serotonin and Norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs).
These drugs inhibit the reuptake of neurotransmitters, the process in which neurotransmitters are naturally reabsorbed back into nerve cells in the brain after they are released to send messages between nerve cells.
The side effects includes withdrawal symptoms like nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, high blood pressure, birth defects, serotonin syndrome, internal bleeding, suicide, etc.
Cocaine also called ‘blow’, ‘crack’ and ‘coke’, is a strong stimulant drug. It is an alkaloid obtained from dried leaves of the plant Erythroxylum coca. It is available as a crystalline substance having a bitter taste.
Cocaine acts by binding to the dopamine (happy hormone) transporter, blocking the removal of dopamine from the synapse. This leads to accumulation of dopamine in the synapse which produces an amplified signal to the receiving neurons causing euphoria.
Long term use of cocaine causes heart disease, hypertension, organ-failure, respiratory distress, stroke, unhealthy weight loss and seizures.
7. Semi-Synthetic Opioids
Semi-synthetic opioids are the drugs created from natural opiates. The class includes hydromorphone, hydrocodone and oxycodone.
These drugs are used in combination with acetaminophen as analgesics which relieves post-surgical or cancer related pain.
Misuse of opioids can cause slowed breathing which often results in hypoxia and death due to overdose.
MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly) is 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine. It is a synthetic, psychoactive drug with a chemical structure similar to stimulant methamphetamine. It acts as a stimulant and psychedelic, producing an energizing effect, as well as distortion in time and perception and enhanced enjoyment from tactile experiences.
MDMA stimulates the release of serotonin from the brain producing a high that lasts for 3 to 6 hours, but the length of high is variable based on the user. It produces stimulant effects such as a sense of pleasure, self confidence and increased energy. It also produces psychedelic effects like feelings of peacefulness, acceptance and empathy.
Excessive use of MDMA can lead to serotonin syndrome, shock, coma and death. Also MDMA increases the sexual desire leading to unsafe sexual intercourse which may cause sexually transmitted diseases.
The drugs mentioned above are just a few examples of dangerous drugs, the list is a bit more lengthy. All these drugs are lethal for human life and required to be used cautiously only for medication purposes.
Awareness should be spread among the people regarding the adverse effects of these drugs and also the legal authorities should monitor the illegal supply of these drugs to prevent the abuse, so that more and more lives can be saved from this devil.