When you think about addiction, what is the first thing that comes to mind? For many people, it’s cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine. Images of homeless people, street dealers and lower class people may be included in these thoughts.
This is not always the case. In fact, legal drugs are more abused than the illegal black market ones. These are found in the medicine cabinets and kitchen cupboards of homes from people of all backgrounds. They can be purchased over the counter, at the local pharmacy, the petrol station or given by a doctor. A concern with the most addictive legal drugs is that users may combine two or more of them for stronger effects, or simply lack the knowledge of the serious consequences attached.
While many people know the world’s illegal drugs, they may not think about the legal drugs as being addictive or harmful. It may surprise you to realize the sheer number of legal drugs which can get you hooked and deteriorate your body and mind.
No list of the most addictive legal drugs could be without alcohol. It’s the world’s drug of choice and can be found in nearly every country, city and town. Whether you’re at a family event, a party or meeting, there’s a good chance alcohol will be present. The drug calms anxiety, eases up social nervousness and stimulates an individual. Even though it’s a very legal drug, it’s also very addicting and can lead to an immense number of negative consequences.
When you can’t seem to sleep for night after night, you may be desperate to do anything for that rest. Although taking Ambien for short periods of time is okay, it’s common for some people to become addicted to the calming and sedating sensation. Relying on Ambien can happen after using it for more than six weeks straight and not only leads to an addiction, but also amnesia, sleep walking and insomnia.
Adderall is one of the most abused legal highs on college and university campuses. Apart from students taking the drug to help improve concentration, do homework or study for exams, Adderall is heavily used by athletes, truck drivers and other people who rely on staying awake for extended periods of time.
Painkillers like Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin and Fentanyl are heavily abused around the world. Often people develop a tolerance and addiction to the medication after suffering an injury, undergoing surgery or having chronic pain. Although these legal drugs have positive benefits, they are meant for short term use only. Apart from developing accidental addictions, other people will use painkillers for their euphoric effect. The body develops a tolerance to opiate and opioid medication rapidly which requires more and more of the drug.
As a benzodiazepine, Valium has been prescribed by doctors for several decades. The legal drug helps to alleviate moderate to severe anxiety and induce relaxation and sleep. It is occasionally given to treat chronic muscle spasms and alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Due to its high like effects it is commonly abused; often in combination with alcohol or benzodiazepines.
Seconal, also known as Secobarbital, is a barbiturate created in 1934. It is prescribed to treat anxiety and sleeping disorders. The legal drug is also used as an anesthetic and for euthanasia in humans and animals. It was popular in the 60’s and 70’s and accidental overdoses were common; including the death of Judy Garland. It carries strong anesthetic, anticonvulsant, anxiolytic, sedative, and hypnotic properties which are the very attributes that make Seconal a heavily abused legal drug even to this day. That said, as a barbiturate, Seconal is highly addictive and possesses serious, potentially life threatening withdrawal symptoms. In fact, the risk of addiction is so extreme that getting a refill on the medication is rare.
It’s one of the most accessible and addictive legal drugs. You can find nicotine containing products at nearly every grocery store front. Found in cigarettes, cigars, rolling tobacco, chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes, nicotine can have someone hooked after only a few days of consistent using. The drug increases a release of dopamine and stimulates the same receptor as valium. It has a calming like effect which is the core reason people in stressful situations may turn to smoking as a way of relief.
Nearly one in two people wake up and have a cup of coffee or other caffeine containing drink. It gives you a burst of energy and increases alertness, but it has powerful psychoactive effects. Within 12-24 hours of ceasing caffeine, you can experience withdrawal symptoms including mental fogginess, headache, inability to stay awake, muscle fatigue and irritability. Smithsonian Magazine published a report stating anymore than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day can lead to accelerated heart rate, anxiety and insomnia.
These are only the most common addictive legal drugs and there are far more substances which are used by people around the world.