Drug and Alcohol

What Are the 5 Deadliest Addictive Drugs?

Legal doesn’t mean safe when it comes to drug abuse. Here are the 5 most lethal drugs in America. Call The Forge today to see how we can help.

What Are the 5 Deadliest Addictive Drugs?

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

May 5, 2022

The Forge Recovery Center

Contrary to popular belief, some drugs found in the United States are more deadly than others. The debate around drug policy is a perplexing one. With so many overdoses located in the United States, drug abuse is one of the leading causes of death and the statistics are staggering. Unfortunately, drugs are still a huge issue and concern for many individuals who struggle with addiction regardless of the debates and misdirected policies. 

Studies conducted on the death rates and side effects of drugs show evidence that demonstrates how a drug can be one of the deadliest in the world. Every drug can be fatal when taken too much or combined with additional substances, and it is essential to find the means of measured medical interventions. 

Drug-Related Overdose Fatalities

Before diving into the actual five deadliest drugs, information revolving around fatalities and overdose is vital to acknowledge. The more awareness drug overdoses receive in the United States, the more progress with medical intervention and prevention strategies can be made. According to one study, more than 70,000 Americans died from overdoses in 2019.

The number of deaths in 1999 was below 20,000, thus showing the involvement of overdoses (regardless of the drug) grew tremendously. Sadly, Americans of all ages struggle with illegal drugs and addiction, and the numbers continue to rise for those who do not have access to quality treatment options.

When looking at the statistical number of drugs increase, including tobacco and Tylenol, the numbers rise to over 139 million individuals using substances daily. While tobacco and Tylenol are legal in the United States, the implications still lead to heightened drug-related overdose fatalities and sometimes lead to deaths by themselves. 

Due to the number of fatalities happening on an annual basis, healthcare professionals and scientists continuously research ways to increase the impact of treatment and how drugs can be fatal even when used casually.

The 5 Deadliest Drugs

While many drugs in the United States are fatal, five in particular top the charts. The list mentioned below is not all-inclusive. Many other deadly drugs are found in the United States and contribute to overdoses and deaths.

The drugs mentioned below are listed as the most lethal drugs because they help contribute or cause fatalities, leading them to become known as the deadliest drugs.

#1. Tobacco

Tobacco is highly overlooked and often deemed less a threat than the others on this list. Nicotine and tobacco are commonly linked to one in five deaths in the United States annually. The average yearly fatalities would supersede 400,000, regardless of whether the fatality was caused by secondhand inhalation or ingestion.

Tobacco use in the United States has declined over the past few years. However, tobacco and nicotine are prime factors leading individuals to find and abuse substances in the future. Nicotine and tobacco are deadly regardless of their educational campaigns and workplace smoking bans. The rise in smoking needs additional prevention steps because it can easily correlate to those using other deadly substances mixed with tobacco.

#2. Alcohol

Alcohol is on this list of deadliest drugs because it leads to over 80,000 deaths annually. The rise of fatalities with alcohol use is connected with drunk driving, homicide, and underage drinking.

Alcohol-related deaths continue to rise over the years, and experts state that the factors involving fatalities and alcohol show dependency and impaired function. Alcohol is one of the most dangerous drugs in society, as it can cause harm to oneself and others, thus increasing the fatality score.

#3. Opioids and Prescriptions

Opioids and prescription drugs were designed to help individuals have proper and professional treatments for pain when dealing with serious medical issues. However, the misleading marketing campaign of opioids and prescriptions results in skyrocketing fatalities each year. While the medication is prescribed at a specific amount to take, individuals often find themselves taking more while under pressure to cope with life’s challenges or perceived increased tolerance.

The deaths involving opioids could have been avoided entirely if the correct response on the crackdown of painkillers and prescriptions had been effective. However, the need for prevention and treatment of pain was emphasized, thus making the medications and opioids more accessible and allowing them to be classified as one of the deadliest drugs.

#4. Cocaine

Cocaine and crack often lead to strokes and heart attacks. They can cause violent behaviors that make individuals more prone to criminal activities. Throughout use, individuals who use cocaine are physically severely limited.

Cocaine reports and fatalities show that mixing substances like heroin and cocaine became a leading cause of deadly overdoses and imposed more significant risks as the drug gained more attention. This drug has been known for a long time as one of the most lethal drugs in the United States and is a leading substance for abuse.

#5 Tylenol

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is a drug used to eliminate pain and is on the list of deadliest medications because it can cause liver damage and toxicity. Furthermore, when an individual suffers pain and the recommended dose is not enough, individuals are more inclined to take more, leading to overdose or finding alternate substances to eliminate the pain.

Each year, the mortality rates continue to rise internationally, accounting for over 50,000 emergency room visits and 25,000 hospitalizations.

Even Legal Substances Can Be Abused

When individuals think of the deadliest drugs, they often think of illegal drugs. However, looking at the numbers and the unhealthy habits that individuals report daily, even over-the-counter drugs and legal substances like alcohol can be highly problematic when abused. Additionally, dependency and addiction lead to overdose and fatality over time if left untreated.

Individuals living in the United States have an average life expectancy. However, when substance abuse is involved, the lifespan of each individual dramatically decreases without proper life-saving intervention and care. Take life into your own hands as you do not need to be part of the increasing numbers of fatalities. You can receive adequate professional treatment today. The Forge is here to help you understand how to eliminate deadly drugs from your lifestyle and learn healthier ways to cope.

For more information about addiction and recovery and how to stop using these fatal drugs, reach out to our team.

Newsletter banner

Sign up for our newsletter

Stay updated with the latest news, resources, and updates from The Forge Recovery Center.