What Are the Most Dangerous Drugs?Liam Roybal
I started using drugs in high school and by the time I graduated college, I had used pretty much every drug that I knew existed. When I arrived at Icarus Behavioral Health for treatment, it was hard to imagine my life without drugs. Now that I am clean, I cannot imagine going back to the way I was. The scariest part of addiction is the way it changes your brain. You simply become a different person.
What makes a drug dangerous? There are many factors. Sometimes drugs are much more dangerous when combined together. Other drugs can kill you all by themselves. The opiate epidemic has made the rate of overdose deaths skyrocket. Prescription drug abuse has quickly become one of the biggest public health issues this country has ever seen.
The drugs have changed over time. The rise of opiates has changed things completely. If I had to choose what drug is the most dangerous, I would probably pick alcohol. It’s socially acceptable, readily available, and easy to abuse. It’s sad that one of the most dangerous drugs is not only legal but encouraged in many aspects.
Drugs like heroin are extremely dangerous and super easy to get addicted to. Opiates are super scary because they are so difficult to get off of. There is a trend I’ve noticed where a lot of opiate addicts end up going to heroin because of it being cheaper and needing less of it to get high. I, unfortunately, ended up going this route myself.
The Spread of Fentanyl And Synthetic Opioids
Fentanyl has become a big game-changer when it comes to modern-day drug abuse. Very rarely has a drug so destructive become so readily available and in a lot of cases, unidentifiable. Fentapills are a growing concern in America. Fentapills are fake pills that may be sold as something else, but actually consist of fentanyl. The only thing you can compare the rise of fentanyl to is the crack epidemic in the 1980s. I believe the rise in fentanyl use is much more of a threat.
What makes fentanyl so dangerous is it is eighty to a hundred times stronger than morphine. Medically, fentanyl is typically only given out to people with terminal cancer. Many of the drugs on the street are being cut with fentanyl, particularly heroin. When you buy drugs like heroin, you don’t know exactly what you are ingesting. For people who are addicts, you probably won’t take the time to be careful either. First responder overdose due to exposure is on the rise because of drugs as strong as fentanyl.
Chemical cocktails have become another big reason for the number of overdose deaths. There has been a lot of research to suggest that mixing substances can have devastating effects on your body. Unfortunately, in the world of drug abuse, there is a lot of drug mixing. A lot of people use drugs with alcohol in order to enhance the effects of both. This is a very dangerous situation that many people don’t realize the potential effects of.
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Relapse and The Rising Risk of Overdose
With so many more drugs available these days, and no warning labels on any of them, there is a rising risk of overdose in many drug users. Drugs like morphine and fentanyl have complicated things considerably. In my experience with opiates, you usually have a pretty good idea of what you are getting. It will usually say right on the pill what it is. With substances like heroin and cocaine, you can’t be sure exactly what you are ingesting.
There is also the issue of relapsing, which is very common among people in recovery. The scary part about relapsing is in a lot of cases, you will go back to using the regular amount that you used when you were abusing drugs before. Since your tolerance is way lower, the amount you regularly used to do can easily make you overdose. A lot of overdose deaths occur from people relapsing and doing too much of the drugs they used to do.
The socially accepted risks of alcohol and nicotine are normalized and aren’t called into question very often. We all know there are risks with these substances, but we often don’t consider them dangerous enough to avoid. Heavy drinking usually doesn’t kill you right away. In a lot of cases, your health deteriorates over time until it hits you right in the face. Alcohol and nicotine are what I like to refer to as silent assassins.
Krokodil and Jenkem: Rare And Dangerous Drugs
Depending on where you live in the world, your access to drugs may change from place to place. There are some drugs that have become more prevalent in certain places due to a number of factors. I remember hearing about Jenkem for the first time about ten years ago. It turned into a bit of a moral panic in America that all the news stations were talking about.
Jenkem is a hallucinogen that is derived from human excrement. I remember being sick to my stomach upon first hearing about it. Who on earth would willingly use their own excrement (let alone someone else’s) to get high? Apparently in poorer countries, this is something that people engage in. There were a lot of reports at one time that this was a somewhat popular thing to do in places like Africa.
A few years back, I also remember hearing about Krokodil. This particular drug became popular in eastern Europe. “Krokodil” is Russian for Crocodile. This particular drug can cause serious damage to your blood vessels, skin, and bones. I can remember watching horrifying videos of Krokodil users with literal holes in their bodies as a result of Krokodil use.
These drugs sound terrifying, but what is even more terrifying is that people will go to the extent of actually using them even when they know the dangers. That is the overall power of drug abuse and addiction. Designer drugs have also become very popular, particularly in the club and rave scenes.
Designer Hallucinogens and HPPD
Lesser-known drugs continue to be underground, but there’s no telling when certain drugs can and will rise in popularity. Synthetic benzodiazepines are often abused in the form of drugs like Xanax which are prescribed to treat anxiety. Then there are drugs such as flakka and spice. The nearly forgotten risks of flakka and spice are pretty shocking.
Any synthetic drug is bad for your brain. HPPD, or hallucinogen persisting perception disorder is one of the side effects of synthetic drug abuse. HPPD can cause hallucinations and psychosis even when you aren’t using the drug. This can be a long-lasting side effect of using too many hallucinogens. All drugs can cause health effects, but some can be much more severe depending on many factors.
The health effects vs. risk of overdose in dangerous drugs is something to consider. As I mentioned before, you may not overdose on alcohol, but it is slowly wrecking your body the harder you drink. There are a lot of animal tranquilizers that have become popular these days as well. Ketamine and Carfentanyl are two of the more readily available ones. There is a direct correlation between fentanyl and Carfentanyl and overdose rates spiking.
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Is Lasting Recovery from Drugs Possible?
We all have the ability to change. That is true for most things in our lives. Because I’ve been in recovery for a while now, I’ve seen so many people change and become much better versions of themselves. Lasting recovery is entirely possible and it can be obtained depending on how much work you decide to put into it.
Every time I tell my story I can see the people around me absorb it. It’s the same when I hear other people’s stories. When I hear success stories, it is inspiring for me. I am always looking to improve my attitude and make my recovery worth it. When I talk to other addicts, it always influences me to continue on my own path.
Sobriety is a personal journey, but it does require a lot of help and influence from others. While you do have to put in a lot of work on your own, you have to rely on others sometimes to lift you up. You can do the same for other people when they are in a place of need. I used to have a really hard time telling my story, now I tell it whenever I have the opportunity.
It is important to be transparent and chip away at the shame and guilt of addiction. It’s hard enough to get sober, you don’t need the extra weight of shame attached to it. The more we break the stigma that is associated with addiction, the more people we can save. We can all work together as human beings to lower the statistics of overdose deaths. The only way to do this is through educating ourselves and listening to those that are suffering.