The Most Addictive Drug in the World

Drug addiction is a disease affecting the brain and a person’s behavior, classified by an inability to control using drugs. In medical terms, the disorder is called substance abuse disorder. Addictive substances can rewrite the brain’s pleasure center, rewarding drug use and changing how a person processes information.

Additionally, a drug’s addictive properties may seem enhanced by the euphoria they cause. As its effects wear off, the user craves for the euphoric effects and may feel depressed. Chronic drug use creates a cycle of dependency, leading to withdrawal symptoms relieved by another dose.

most addictive drug

Most Addictive and Dangerous Drugs

Illicit drug use is a significant problem in the United States, especially in Long Island. While all drugs have the potential to be addictive, not all run the same risk.

Determining the most addictive drug boils down to a few factors:

  • How the drug interacts with the brain
  • How often can a person acquire it?
  • How often the person uses it

The most common street drugs we know are crack, cocaine, and heroin. Little did we know there are prescription drugs that can be abused too. Here are the most addictive and dangerous drugs that should not be tried or abused.

1. Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid with similar properties to morphine but 100 times the potency. Like morphine, it has medicinal uses for patients experiencing severe pain, especially after surgery. Some doctors also prescribe it to patients physically tolerant of other opioids. These prescription painkillers are unfortunately widely abused and are highly addictive.

How Is Fentanyl Used?

As a prescriptive drug, fentanyl is often given as a shot, tablet, or patch on the skin. On the other hand, illicit fentanyl is a synthetic opiate that is typically sold in powder form. It is placed in eye droppers and nasal sprays dropped on blotter paper or made into pills resembling other drugs.

Some dealers mix the drug with other powders, including methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and MDMA, taking advantage of fentanyl’s potency and attempting to stretch their sales. Unfortunately, people who purchase these drugs often don’t realize the inclusion of a dangerous additive.

Fentanyl Addiction

Fentanyl’s potency makes it highly addictive. Even someone taking prescribed fentanyl can experience dependence, sometimes leading to addictive behaviors. Physical dependence and addiction develop as a result of wanting to experience that intense high once again.

2. Cocaine

Another powerfully addictive stimulant, cocaine, is made from coca leaves native to South America. Although it’s another substance that medical providers can use for valid treatment purposes, including local anesthesia, cocaine remains illegal recreationally.

Cocaine appears to be a fine crystal powder when sold on the street. Like fentanyl, cocaine is often mixed with inert substances like talcum powder or cornstarch to stretch profits. Some dealers may also mix fentanyl with cocaine, exponentially increasing the drug’s danger.

How Is Cocaine Used?

It’s common for people to rub cocaine in their gums or snort the powder through the nose. Others may dissolve the powder to make it injectable into the bloodstream. Since cocaine is a potent stimulant drug, it increases the levels of dopamine in the brain, affecting movement and the brain’s reward system.

Usually, dopamine returns to the cell that produced it, recycling it when the signal between the nerve cells ends. However, cocaine prevents this return and allows the chemical to build up and disrupt communication. As a result, the interaction reinforces drug-taking behaviors.

Cocaine Addiction

Like other drugs, cocaine rewires the brain’s reward circuit over time, which can lead to addiction. Eventually, the circuit adjusts to the new normal, becoming less sensitive to it and requiring larger doses to achieve the same feeling and relief from withdrawal.

Symptoms of withdrawal from cocaine include:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Increased appetite
  • Slowed thinking
  • Insomnia and unpleasant dreams

3. Alcohol

Alcohol is a commonly-used drug, yes alcohol is classified as a drug that’s classified as Psychotropic Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressant. Alcohol plays a significant role in cultures and societies worldwide. More Americans over the age of 12 have used alcohol in the last year than any other tobacco or drug product.

Moderate alcohol use is rarely harmful to most adults, but millions of Americans struggle with alcohol use disorder. In other words, their drinking results in harm and distress. This condition, also known as alcohol dependence, can range from mild to severe, depending on the symptoms.

Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol use disorder is a disease resulting in:

  • Strong cravings for alcohol
  • Loss of control once you’ve started drinking alcohol
  • Feeling irritable and anxious when you aren’t drinking alcohol

4. Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine, with street name crystal meth or crack, is a highly addictive stimulant with powerful properties impacting the central nervous system. Crystal methamphetamine is a common form that looks like shiny glass fragments. Chemically, the drug is similar to amphetamine, which treats ADHD and certain sleep disorders, such as narcolepsy.

How Is Methamphetamine Used?

People often use methamphetamine by smoking or snorting the powder, dissolving it into an injectable form, or swallowing it as pills. Because the intensity of the peak starts and fades quickly, it’s common for people to take repeated “binge and crash” doses. Sometimes, a person may take methamphetamine in back-to-back amounts in the form of binging called a “run,” often sacrificing sleep and food in the meantime.

Meth Addiction

Like the other drugs on this list, methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug. When someone stops using it, they can experience withdrawal symptoms like:

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Severe depression
  • Psychosis
  • Intense drug cravings

No government-approved medication tackles methamphetamine addiction, although research is underway. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent misuse and addiction through behavioral therapies, such as:

  • Cognitive behavior therapy: Helps patients understand, avoid, and cope with trigger situations that can encourage drug use, and
  • Motivational incentives: Using vouchers or small cash rewards inspires clients to stay off drugs.

5. Heroin

Heroin is an opioid made from natural morphine, taken from the seed pod of opium poppy plants native to Colombia, Mexico, and South Asia. The drug often looks like a white or brown powder or can be a black sticky substance called black tar heroin.

How Is Heroin Used?

A person might inject, snort, sniff, or smoke heroin. It also comes in a street form called speedball, where heroin is mixed with cocaine or fentanyl. However the drug is consumed, it rapidly enters the brain and sticks to opioid receptors, affecting pain, pleasure, breathing, and sleeping.

Heroin Addiction

Again, heroin is highly addictive. Someone who regularly uses it will develop a tolerance, so they’ll need a stronger dose to achieve the same feeling as the first time. When this continued use results in health problems or a failure to meet responsibilities at home, work, or school, the person has developed a substance use disorder. Like with AUD, SUD can range from mild to severe.

Someone who is addicted to heroin and abruptly stops can develop severe withdrawal symptoms within hours such as:

  • Sleep problems
  • Restlessness
  • Cold flashes
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Severe heroin cravings
  • Uncontrollable leg movements

Studies are underway to understand the long-term effect of opioid addiction on a person’s brain. Past research indicates the brain may lose some of its white matter, affecting behavior control, decision-making, and responses to stressful situations.

Risk of Using Illicit Drugs

Taking illegal drugs can lead to many short-term and long-term side effects. Drug abuse will affect every aspect of your life — physical health, family relationships, money job, and even problems with the law. If you have a loved one going down this path, warn them of the risks that come with using illicit drugs.

Short-Term Harm

Short-term harm is something temporary that happens because of an episode of inappropriately using medication or using illicit drugs. These impacts vary markedly depending on what drug was used and how much was consumed; they can occur because of the drug itself or because of how the drug was taken.

Long-Term Harm

Long-term health impacts occur due to chronic drug use and vary depending on the person and the substance in question, including type and amount.

Like short-term harm, long-term effects can result from the drug or how it was taken. For example, someone who has carelessly shared injecting equipment with someone with a bloodborne virus risks catching it themselves.


An overdose occurs when someone accidentally takes a drug or intentionally takes a larger-than-normal dose, resulting in a medical emergency. This type of overdose can occur when using too much of an illicit or prescribed drug or a combination.

How much of a drug causes an overdose varies, depending on how pure the substance is, how tolerant a person is to it, and whether or not the person has also recently consumed alcohol or other drugs.

Help is always within reach; there are several treatment options that can help you start changing your life. You can receive addiction treatment at Long Island Interventions today.

Help is within Reach: Contact Long Island Interventions Today

If you have a loved one battling with alcohol abuse or addiction to any of the dangerous drugs mentioned above, intervention is needed right away. At Long Island Interventions, we help New Yorkers seeking rehabilitation services.

Long Island Interventions Treatment Center offers detox treatment programs, and medication-assisted treatment, both inpatient and outpatient programs, all with the help of experienced and dedicated healthcare professionals.

Our dedicated team is experienced and compassionate, capable of understanding and helping you adapt to the challenges on your road to recovery. With an individualized treatment plan, you stand the best chance of long-term recovery from substance use. Contact Long Island Interventions today to request a confidential assessment.


  • What is the most addictive substance?

My Loved One Is


How Do I Get Them


24/7 Confidential Helpline

Have Any Questions?

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Ready to Make a Change?

We understand that the treatment process can be difficult at times. At Long Island Interventions, we are committed to assisting you in making progress towards a new life free from the grips of addiction.
For Confidential Help, Call Now:

Long Island Interventions Helpline

If you are seeking drug and alcohol treatment resources for yourself or a loved one, our helpline is a confidential and convenient solution. Callers are referred to JCAHO accredited rehab facilities in our network of recommended treatment providers. Alternatives to finding addiction treatment or learning about substance abuse: