Top Ten Most Common Drugs Found in the Home

Find out how many of the top 10 most common drugs are within reach in your home.

Even drugs that are legally obtained can be addictive and dangerous. There are several harmful substances that can be found in most common households that may pose a risk for poisoning, addiction, or even death when they are abused or not used as directed. While adults are careful to hide potentially toxic substances from children, many remain unaware about how certain drugs’ addictive properties pose a danger to them as well.  WhiteSands is committed to providing the best addiction treatment in Florida. Visit our drug rehab in Tampa for help. Here are the top 10 most common drugs ordinarily found in households that pose a risk for addiction, some of which are often considered to be harmless:

1. Alcohol

Drinking is socially acceptable and therefore an addiction can be difficult to detect. Despite alcohol being legal, its potential for abuse is high. Alcohol abuse can cause several health risks in addition to addiction. Alcohol is definitely tops the list of the top 10 most common drugs found in the home.

2. Depressants

While barbiturates fall into this category and include medications that were once more commonly prescribed for medical conditions such as seizures, insomnia and anxiety, this list also includes prescription medications for insomnia such as Ambien and Lunesta. These modern-day, prescribed sleep aids can be very addictive because users build a tolerance to their effects quickly. These drugs can also produce mind-altering effects that result in continued abuse. Depressants can be some of the worst prescription drugs for their dangerous addiction potential.

3. Inhalants

Inhalants are being used when you hear about people who are huffing household items. Common household cleaning products and products that come in aerosol cans are some of the types of items used in this practice. Huffing household items is extremely dangerous because inhalants are explosive, toxic substances. This type of chemical ingestion can immediately cause hospitalization or even be fatal. Recovery from an addiction to huffing household items and other inhalants can be slow because of the time it takes to purge these chemicals from the brain and body.

4. Benzodiazepines

Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin are examples of commonly prescribed benzodiazepines that people use for legitimate conditions, such as anxiety or stress. However, addiction to these medications is often unforeseen until a dependency problem already exists. Benzodiazepines can alter brain chemistry and are often difficult to detox from without medical assistance.

5. Prescription Stimulant Medications

Stimulant medications such as Adderall and Ritalin are prescribed for ADD or ADHD and work well in treating those conditions. However, a user of these types of medications can quickly build a tolerance to the drug’s high. When a user attempts to increase the amount they use, there is a risk for overdose. Stimulant medications represent the worst prescription drugs with a high potential for addiction.

6. Cough Syrup

Whether over the counter or by prescription, cough syrup can cause potential adverse effects when abused. Codeine and promethazine are common ingredients in prescription cough medications and are what pose addiction risk for those who abuse the medications. Codeine is an opioid that can produce euphoric feelings and deep relaxation when taken in large doses. Promethazine also acts as a sedative, which the user may become dependent on as well.

7. Prescription Painkillers

Some of the worst prescription drugs include those that are in the opioid family. Painkillers are included in the top 10 most common drugs list because they are extremely addictive and difficult to withdraw from. Most people begin taking prescribed medications like hydrocodone or oxycodone due to an injury they sustained or pain that has become unmanageable. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more people die in the United States from opioid painkiller overdoses than from heroin and cocaine combined.

8. Tobacco

By now, even though most people are educated about the dangers of using nicotine, which is the addictive stimulant ingredient in cigarettes, many people still smoke cigarettes and they are still legal to purchase. Many smokers cannot quit smoking despite the knowledge of how it can negatively impact their health. Tobacco use claims more lives than any other addictive substance.

9. Laxatives

Those who want to lose weight often go to drastic measures to succeed. Laxative abuse often signifies a comorbid eating disorder. Laxatives that are abused can cause dehydration, and the loss of vital minerals and salts.

10. Over the Counter Decongestants

Sold as nasal or sinus decongestants, these medications bring relief to those who suffer from seasonal allergies, the common cold, or the flu. However, these drugs can produce stimulant effects that are similar to amphetamines. When abused, side effects can occur such as paranoia, psychosis, or an irregular heartbeat. These medications are also sought after to make illegal methamphetamine.


Take inventory in your home and see how many items from the top 10 most common drugs list are within reach. Knowing the dangers of these substances can protect you and your loved ones from making a deadly mistake.

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.