These are the five topmost addictive substances on Earth, according to scientists. 

What are you addicted to? We’re addicted to learning. Whether its ‘Game of Thrones’ or peanut butter and jelly sandwich (PBnJ), addiction is no joke. Although these things are more likely not to harm you, yet the real danger about addiction is more about what you’re addicted to. If what you’re addicted to is a drug, then not only are you at risk, but also, you might not be able to quit. Scientists have now identified the most addicted substances on Earth.



Oh Boy, I Can’t Do Without You

In a 2007 study published in the Lancet, a group of addiction experts came out with the most addictive substances ever. For the study, they devised a rational scale that sought to measure the harmful effects of various drugs and their potential risk on consumers. There were three factors: i. pleasure (sexual gratification), ii. psychological dependence (cravings, irritability from withdrawal, etc.), and iii. physical dependence (symptoms like headache, nausea, etc.). They later then scored each drug on a 3-point scale, where 3 was the most addictive and 0 was the least.

Here are the top five most addictive substances:

  • Heroin. Rank: 3 out of 3.
  • Cocaine. Rank: 2.4 out of 3.
  • Nicotine. Rank: 2.2 out of 3.
  • Barbiturates. Rank: 2 out of 3.
  • Alcohol. Rank: 1.9 out of 3.


Admit It, You’re Addicted

Yet again another study in 2010 also published in the Lancet sought to look at how addictive substances differently. The ones that does most harm not only to the consumer, but also others — like their family, society, and the world at large. The Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs in collaboration with a few addiction specialists met at a workshop to score 20 drugs on 16 criteria: nine of them were in relation to the harm that a drug has on the individual, and seven of them were in relation to the harm it causes others.

For instance, user related harms included physical cost (harm on the user’s body), psychological cost (harm on the user’s behavior), and relationship cost (harm on third parties of the user such as family, friends, or even their possessions). On the other hand, other related harms included less obvious things like economic costs (harm on the user’s finances), crime rates, environmental damage, and family adversities due to the user’s dependance on the substance. The drugs were scored on a 100-point scale, and the criteria were weighed to indicate their relative importance.



And The Addictive Award Goes To…

Image: Curiosity Daily

The drug that the latter study found to be the most harmful to users were closely in line with the one of the former study. Categorically, heroin (scored 34), crack cocaine (scored 37), and methamphetamine (scored 32) were the most harmful to users abusing them. However, the most harmful drugs in the community was surprising. In further ratings, alcohol (scored 46), heroin (scored 21), and crack cocaine (scored 17) as the most harmful drugs to others. What’s even more harmful, the scientists finally declared alcohol as the most harmful drug (score 74), heroin (scored 55), and crack cocaine (scored 54) as follows.

Let us know if you’re addicted to any of these drugs.


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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Mon, Jun 17, 2019.

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