Top 5 Most Dangerous Common Recreational Drugs

Learn which common recreational drugs are the deadliest

Certain recreational drugs are more popular than others due to a variety of factors. In addition to their addictive qualities and the feelings these drugs produce when ingested, cost and accessibility are also definite factors that determine how commonly they are used.  Factors that determine what makes a drug more dangerous than another, include their level of health risk, for example, one of the health risks associated with the illicit drug heroin would include how the drug is administered because drugs that are injected have a greater risk for infection. Other factors that go into what makes common recreational drugs more dangerous than others would include their specific chemical configuration, reported side effects, how great the risk of overdose is and statistics. A list of the top 10 most dangerous, common recreational drugs includes illicit drugs as well as recreational prescription drugs. Here is a list compiled from information gathered from respected sources like the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

  1. Heroin tops the list of the most dangerous, common recreational drugs. It can be injected, smoked, or snorted. Heroin is in the opioid class of drugs and is made from morphine. Users also mix it with crack cocaine and inject it. This very dangerous practice is referred to as speedballing. Heroin, once inside the brain, changes back into morphine. It binds to receptors in the brain stem that control critical processes, such as blood pressure and respiratory function. Users who inject heroin risk collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, liver or kidney disease and pneumonia in addition to overdose, which can be fatal.
  2. Benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants. This class of drugs includes the most common prescription drugs that get abused, such as Valium and Xanax, which are both normally prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorders. There are also sedatives in the benzodiazepine class that are used to treat sleep disorders and are generally prescribed only for short periods due to their risk of tolerance, dependence, and addiction being so great with extended use. When abused, these recreational prescription drugs can be very dangerous, especially when mixed with other drugs like alcohol.
  3. Alcohol is a common recreational drug that is classed as a depressant. It slows down vital functions and can cause slurred speech, lack of coordination, slowed reaction time, and it reduces an individual’s ability to think rationally. It can depress the body’s ability to feel pain, cause vomiting due to toxicity, and in great amounts, alcohol can be fatal. Over time, it can cause disease in the liver and pancreas, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, alcoholic hepatitis, certain cancers, and more.
  4. Stimulants are some of the most common prescription drugs that are also obtainable as illicit street drugs. Dexedrine, Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta all produce similar effects in the brain that cause increased dopamine and result in euphoric feelings when taken recreationally. Stimulant drugs increase blood pressure and glucose, constrict blood vessels, and open airways. They can cause dangerous spikes in body temperature, irregular heartbeat, seizures, and heart failure.
  5. Inhalants, which include aerosol sprays, gases, solvents, and nitrates, which are prescription medications used to treat chest pain, are all substances that can be and commonly are misused by inhaling them to get high. These substances can easily be found everywhere and include common household items such as spray paints, markers, glues, and cleaning fluids. These harmful chemicals affect the central nervous system and slow down brain activity. They can cause slurred speech, coordination difficulties, dizziness, and nausea. Over time, they can cause liver and kidney damage, hearing loss, loss of coordination, and limb spasms as a result of nerve damage. It is possible to overdose on inhalants by having a reaction to the toxicity of the drug. Overdoses on inhalants can be fatal.

There are many other dangerous, common recreational drugs not mentioned in the list above that carry great risks for addiction and even death. If you or a loved one have a problem with addiction, it is important to educate yourself about the dangers of drug abuse and seek help immediately.

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.