Humanity has been chasing a high since prehistoric times. Evidence of opioid use has been seen in the plaque and bones of ancient Romans in 4000 B.C. and certain hallucinogens were used in Peru as far back as 500 B.C. Although the modern drug user is thought of as some sort of sickly heathen, many famous intellectual figures such as Thomas Edison, Sigmund Freud, Carl Sagan, and Bill Gates have a history of drug use.
Street drugs, or designer drugs, are typically considered to be the most dangerous drugs, since there is little to no regulation and every hit has the potential to be fatal. However, drugs like tobacco and alcohol also have high mortality rates. Although the term “drug” can be used to refer to everything from coffee to crack cocaine, the side effects of coffee (which include nervousness and increased heart rate) don’t even come close to the side effect of crack (which include paranoia, psychosis, and severe damage to the heart.)
So, objectively speaking, what is the worst drug? Let’s take a look.
Desomorphine, or Krokodil, is an opioid derived from codeine that is most popular in Russia but has recently been gaining popularity in The United States. In Russia, it is referred to as “krokodil” because injecting the drug intravenously induces scale-like, discolored skin, similar to that of a crocodile’s.
Simply consuming the drug can cause a variety of infections and diseases that may result in necrosis – when living tissue, such as an arm or leg, decays and must be removed or amputated. Other Krokodil effects include blood vessel damage, pneumonia, meningitis, motor skills impairment, and memory loss.
Krokodil is manufactured illicitly, similar to how methamphetamine is made and is considered a Schedule I drug in The United States. This means that it is deemed to have no official medical use and a high potential for abuse. Since the production is mostly done by private citizens, the codeine-based drug has been often cut with gasoline, paint thinner, and hydrochloric acid. Because of the severe Krokodil effects, users have a high mortality rate and the drug has earned its place among the world’s most dangerous drugs.
Crystal Meth, or methamphetamine, is among the most notorious street drugs. It is a synthetic stimulant, commonly produced in Mexico, that gives users an immediate and powerful rush of energy and euphoria, and which has the potential to render a user addicted immediately. Crystal meth (which can be snorted, injected, or smoked) affects the central nervous system of the human body and has been known to cause severe psychological problems, even after the first hit.
The side effects of crystal meth are more noticeable than any other among the world’s most dangerous drugs, because they are much more visible than the side effects of crack or other drugs like ketamine. Users of methamphetamine experience broken and rotted teeth, infected sores and pimples on their skin (due to scratching and injecting the drug) paranoia or psychosis, and are at high risk of contracting HIV from sharing needles.
Ketamine was originally used as a horse tranquilizer, but once people discovered its strong sedative high, it quickly gained popularity, especially among people who had an affinity for street drugs.
The high from Ketamine, or Special K, is short-lived but causes intense feelings of euphoria. It can be consumed by injection, mixed in with drinks as a liquid, snorted as a powder, or rolled into cigarettes. Users describe the high from Ketamine as dissociative, as if their physical body is separate from reality, in a dream-like state.
People who have used high doses of Ketamine report experiencing an out of body experience often referred to as the “K-Hole.” The “K-Hole” can cause immobility, confusion, and difficulty breathing. Due to the strong sedation and impairment that it causes, Ketamine has a reputation of being used as a “date-rape” drug.
Similar to Krokodil, Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid analgesic, although it was primarily used for pain management in cancer patients. The drug, otherwise known as China Girl or Poison, is said to be anywhere from 80 to 100 times more potent than its counterpart, morphine. When it is sold on the streets, either as a pill or powder, it is usually cut with other drugs that heighten the feelings of ecstasy and elation.
The majority of Fentanyl-related deaths in The United States are due to illegally-made Fentanyl, or other drugs that were laced with it, such as cocaine. In the past two years, The United States has seen a staggering amount of overdoses and deaths due to Fentanyl.
Heroin is an infamous drug that is derived from opium poppies, a plant that is grown primarily in Pakistan, Columbia, Mexico, and Southeast Asia. The drug can be in the form of a powder or a thick, sticky substance that is referred to as, “black tar” and can be smoked, snorted, or injected. The high of heroin is described as feeling warm and safe, which can be highly appealing to people who have poor or dangerous living conditions. Yet, users can quickly become addicted to the drug and need it simply to feel normal.
The side-effects of this popular street drug include confusion, anxiety, impaired motor skills, nausea, and slowed or arrested breathing. As is such with crystal meth, heroin users who inject the drug have a greater risk of contracting HIV and AIDS. Possibly as a result of the increasing number of prescriptions opioids, like Vicodin or OxyContin, in The United States, the number of heroin-related deaths has grown exponentially since 2000.
Cocaine, or crack, is often seen as a “luxury drug.” It causes intense feelings of euphoria and energy that has landed it the title of a Schedule II drug under the classification of the DEA. The side-effects of crack, which is also one of The United States’ most popular street drugs, include increased heart rate and blood pressure, tremors, irritability, paranoia, and psychosis. Since the high of cocaine only lasts about thirty minutes, users find themselves at a higher risk of an addiction and overdose, as they take more and more of the drug to maintain their high.
Answering the question, “what is the worst drug,” can be quite difficult. Each of the drugs that we listed above has a different array of side-effects and all pose a different threat to its users. As such, certain drugs are not easily available in certain geographical locations. For example, although Ketamine addiction is a public health concern in The United States, France and Spain do not have a similar issue.
The answer to that question is objective. But one thing is certain. Every one of those drugs above poses a serious threat to the mental and physical health of countries all over the world. Drug use is a slippery slope. One hit can lead to addiction which can lead to overdose or death. This may seem extreme, but it is a very real possibility.
If you believe that yourself or a loved one may be struggling with drug addiction, please don’t hesitate Treatment Centers XL today and discuss a plan towards sobriety.