Addiction experts have been assessing the danger of psychoactive substances for the last 15 years. Scientific papers and classification systems rank over 300 different drugs in order of the most harmful and the least beneficial to health. The usual suspects are always there: alcohol, tobacco, heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine are still among the most dangerous addictive substances in the world. But recently, synthetic cannabinoids, such as ‘Spice’ and prescription painkillers, like Oxycodone, have also made the list.
The truth is, the ‘most dangerous drugs’ list differs wherever you are in the world and, whatever the classification, they all have serious consequences for the user and for those around them. At Delamere, we help people overcome all kinds of drug addiction in the safety and comfort of our unique forest surroundings with a medical drug detox, one-to-one support and a future-proof aftercare plan for long-term recovery. Here, we look at some of the most dangerous substances we come across and the techniques we use to help people recover from their addiction.
Despite being freely available and legal in the majority of countries, alcohol remains one of the most destructive substances. Alcohol misuse causes three million deaths every year and plays a role in more than 200 diseases and injuries. (1) One of the reasons alcohol is consistently cited as dangerous is not only due to its widespread use, but also because of the harm it inflicts on family, friends and colleagues. When weighing up the damage alcohol can do to life expectancy, health, relationships and society, studies suggest public health strategies and legislation may need to be adjusted to prevent further casualties.
50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, Fentanyl is legally prescribed for chronic pain but is fast becoming one of the most dangerous addictive painkillers (2). It’s estimated that powerful opioids, like Fentanyl, are responsible for over 70% of drug-related deaths. (3) Opioids work on the pain and pleasure receptors of the brain and can cause a state of extreme happiness and relaxation. That’s why, taken in high doses, Fentanyl can be highly addictive. If you’re worried about Fentanyl addiction, get help from the therapists at Delamere. We’ve treated many people for painkiller addiction and can help you work through your problems in a supportive, caring environment.
Whether injected or smoked, heroin induces a sudden high that is extremely addictive. It’s known to be very well tolerated, which can quickly lead to dependence with dangerous consequences. Heroin’s effect on the central nervous system means it slows down a person’s brain function and breathing which can be life-threatening in high doses. Long-term heroin use can cause collapsed veins, blood vessel damage, lung problems and infertility. If you’re struggling with heroin addiction, it’s important that you speak to trained medical professionals who can help you withdraw safely.
Highly addictive, cocaine can cause intense highs and crashing lows, yet its popularity continues to rise. In the last ten years, the number of new people entering treatment for cocaine problems in Europe has increased by over 35%, with around two-thirds of countries noting an increase. (4) Due to its powerful effects on the brain and body, attempting to withdraw from cocaine without medical supervision can be fatal. At Delamere, we provide bespoke drug rehab programmes that help people to recover from cocaine addiction in state-of-the-art facilities using advanced therapeutic techniques. We understand that recreational cocaine use can quickly become a destructive habit and we’re here to help you overcome your challenges.
Known as crank, glass, ice and crystal meth, methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant that, when smoked, produces a similar high to crack cocaine. Persistent use changes the brain’s pleasure control system and can result in users experiencing cognitive and emotional problems. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), overdose deaths involving methamphetamine almost tripled between 2015 to 2019 in the United States. (5) Delamere uses a combination of medically assisted drug detox and proven behavioural therapies to help people overcome methamphetamine addiction. By addressing people’s personal reasons for abuse we can help them to conquer their addiction and move on with their lives.
Benzodiazepines, sometimes called ‘benzos’, are used to treat anxiety, insomnia and panic disorders. Xanax is the brand name for a benzodiazepine called Alprazolam. Although it is widely prescribed by your family GP it can also be obtained illegally on the street. Possibly the most dangerous thing about this drug is its availability. It can be easily obtained online and is often found in medicine cabinets making it within reach of curious teens. Designed to quash feelings of fear and agitation, the high Xanax delivers makes it extremely addictive. As it works by altering chemicals in the brain, long-term use can cause serious side effects.
Opioids are substances derived from the poppy plant that reduce pain and increase pleasure. Oxycodone is a synthetic version of an opioid, usually prescribed as a painkiller for severe or chronic pain. While it is highly effective for pain relief, if you start to rely on it daily, it can become chronically addictive. Opioid addiction and related deaths have risen sharply in recent years with approximately 130 patients dying from an overdose each day in the United States. (6) Delamere has direct experience of healing guests with painkiller addiction, including oxycodone. If you, or someone you know, has a dependence on prescription painkillers, we can help.
Once used as a horse tranquilizer, ketamine is a powerful anaesthetic that became a popular club drug in the 1990s. It can be safely used to treat pain, anxiety and depression in the correct doses. But if someone takes too much or self-medicates with ketamine, it carries a high number of risks. These include high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, confusion and liver dysfunction. With its ability to alter a person’s state of mind, ketamine addiction can cause people to make irrational decisions that put them in danger or at risk of death.
Severe pain can be debilitating leading to anxiety and depression. This explains why the relief provided by a powerful analgesic, like morphine, can be highly addictive. Similar to the effects of heroin, these intense feelings of pleasure, and its accessibility, can make morphine open to abuse. Due to its medicinal qualities, morphine is seen as less harmful by the United Nation’s drug classification system, but taking too much of it can be fatal, especially when mixed with alcohol. When combined with other central nervous system depressants, morphine can result in extreme drowsiness, respiratory difficulties and even coma.
Diapazam (or Valium) is another type of benzodiazepine that has come under fire in recent years. The availability of certain anti-anxiety medications has led to, what some call, an epidemic of prescription drug addictions. Like Xanax, Diazapam can produce such feelings of relaxation and calm it can become a daily crutch to anyone experiencing anxiety and depression. If you need support with valium addiction it helps to speak to someone who has been through a similar experience. Many of the therapists at Delamere are in active recovery and are here to listen without judgement.
How can Delamere help with drug addiction?
Whatever your drug addiction, we will design a drug rehab treatment programme that is uniquely personal to you, using our trusted three-step approach. This begins with a safe and comfortable drug detox supported by our clinical team and continues with a range of one-to-one and group therapy sessions and somatic healing experiences.
Making the decision to get help is a huge step for you, your family and friends. We treat all kinds of addiction with the same level of respect, understanding, and individual care. You can rest assured that your stay with us will be inspiring and transformative, full of therapeutic techniques that help you work through your addiction and on with your life.
1. World Health Organisation. Key facts: Alcohol. 21 September 2018.
4. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (2019), European Drug Report.
5. B Han, et. al. Trends in methamphetamine use, use disorder, and related overdose deaths among adults in the United States(link is external). JAMA Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2021.2588 (2021).
6. . What is the U.S. opioid epidemic? United States Department of Health and Human Services, Jan 22, 2019.
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