Top 10 Most Addictive Illegal Drugs

The detoxification and recovery from drug addiction is a difficult process that one has to endure. Some drugs are more addictive than others are because their chemical structure causes cravings for more of the drug. Certain drugs also cause physical changes to the part of the brain that regulates proper decision making. All these aspects can cause the user to become addicted to the drug both physically and psychologically. Here is a brief snapshot of the ten hardest drugs to kick:


Heroin has an addiction rate of 2.89 out of 3. It is an opioid antagonist drug that affects the opioid receptors in the brain. This causes the receptors to release endorphins, which lower the pain threshold while simultaneously creating a feeling of euphoria. The areas of the brain that control learning, pleasure and reward become entrained by the effects of the endorphins and cause the user to crave more of the heroin.

Crack Cocaine

Crack Cocaine has an addiction rate of 2.82 out of 3. This drug causes the release of large amounts of dopamine into the brain reward center causing feelings of euphoria. This activity causes a quick and intense high followed by intense depression and anxiety. The user will crave the euphoric high of the drug but will also want to get relief from the negative after effects. This behavior results in a vicious cycle of abuse. Crack Cocaine causes many damaging side effects including heart attacks, stroke and sudden death.


Nicotine has an addiction rate of 2.82 out of 3. Nicotine causes euphoria, relaxation and addiction by increasing the dopamine levels in the reward center of the brain. It can become both physically and psychologically addictive by producing physical and mood-altering effects. One in every five deaths in America is caused by the results of smoking.


Methadone has an addiction rate of 2.68 out of 3. It is an analgesic narcotic used in the treatment of severe chronic pain and opioid dependence. It has been found to be medically safe and is used at low dosage to treat recovering drug addicts while going through withdrawal. Methadone can become addictive if it is not monitored properly. As of 2012, there were approximately 120,000 methadone patients in the U.S. with 20% of them having used the drug for over 10 years.

Crystal Meth

Crystal methadone has an addiction rate of 2.24 out of 3. It is a synthetic opiate drug used in the treatment of moderate to severe pain and also in the treatment of opiate addiction like heroin. It creates feelings of well-being and happiness. This drug imitates the natural chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine in the reward center of the brain, causing the neural activity to release more of both chemicals. Crystal methadone can become addictive if not monitored properly by a physician.


Alcohol has an addiction rate of 2.13 out of 3. Alcoholism is a chronic disease that affects all areas of life and is influenced by the genetics, environment and psychology of the alcoholic. It causes intense cravings in drinkers and affects the brain?s reward center. Symptoms include a strong urge to drink and the inability to stop. Alcoholics develop a tolerance to alcohol thereby needing to drink more to feel its affects. Detox symptoms of alcohol can include blackouts, nausea, shaking and sweating.


Cocaine has an addiction rate of 2.13 out of 3. Cocaine stimulates the reward center of the brain causing feelings of euphoria by artificially increasing the release of dopamine and also preventing the re-absorption of dopamine back into the nerve cells. Because addicts quickly build up a tolerance to the drug, they need to increase their intake to produce the desired high. Cocaine is classified by the Federal Government as a high-abuse, high dependency risk stimulant. Addiction to cocaine causes severe paranoia, losing touch with reality and hallucinating.


Amphetamines have an addiction rate of 1.95. They affect the reward center of the brain and cause a desire for more of the drug. Users can rapidly build up a tolerance to the drug leading to more intake to achieve the desired high. Amphetamines are central nervous system stimulants that initially increase energy, attention, concentration and sociability in the user. Addiction to the drug causes cognitive and social impairment, eccentricity, delusions, hallucinations, depression, anger and suicidal thoughts and behavior.


Benzodiazepines have an addiction rate of 1.89 out of 3. They are anti-anxiety drugs that regulate the brain chemical GABA which suppresses anxiety and other psychological disorders. The drug reduces the activity of nerves in the brain and spinal cord. Scientists believe that high nerve activity may be the cause of anxiety, seizures, convulsions, insomnia, depression and anxiety attacks. Abuse of Benzodiazepines can lead to addiction.


GHB has an addiction rate of 1.71 out of 3. It is a central nervous system depressant drug that acts like the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. Commonly known as Liquid X and Liquid Ecstasy, it is a popular club and date-rape drug. GHB causes euphoria, increased sexual drive and tranquility. Adverse effects of the drug are nausea, sweating, loss of consciousness, hallucinations, amnesia and coma. GHB can be addictive if used repeatedly and withdrawal symptoms are severe and debilitating.??These drugs are rated the top ten most addictive drugs in the United States. Anyone considering using any one of these drugs runs the risk of addiction. To avoid the pitfalls of addiction and the difficult journey of recovery, illicit drugs should never be used and legal prescription drugs should be taken only as prescribed and not abused.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.