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What Is The Most Addictive Drug?


Drugs are defined as “a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body… drugs are chemicals that alter, block, or mimic chemical reactions in the brain.” While all drugs can be addictive, not all are created equal. To determine the most addictive drug it is imperative to consider several contributing factors such as how the substance interacts with the brain, how readily available it is, how often someone uses it, and more. Addiction, as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence.” The National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that more than 21 million individuals are battling addiction in the United States.


Heroin is recognized as the most addictive drug available. It is a rapidly acting opiate that is synthesized from morphine. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies heroin as a Schedule I Substance, which are defined as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” It can be abused in different ways such as intravenously (injected), inhaled (snorted), and/ or smoked. The method of ingestions does not affect the speed at which heroin crosses the blood-brain barrier. The way heroin works is by attaching itself to opioid receptors in one’s body, which affects neurotransmitters and one’s pleasure and reward perceptions. Heroin also affects one’s ability to control heart rate, breathing, and sleeping. Upon entering the body heroin rapidly moves to the brain and quickly begins shifting the way one’s central nervous system functions. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse assert that habitual use of heroin can lead to both short- and long-term changes in one’s brain. Due to its highly addictive qualities, any person that uses heroin repeatedly, with or without the presence of any predisposed factors for substance use disorder (e.g., family history of addiction, exposure to drugs at a young age, mental health disorder, etc.) is at risk of developing a physical and psychological addiction to heroin. Although it is not necessarily common for an individual to become addicted to heroin after a single use, it is possible. Furthermore, it has been reported by the American Society of Addiction Medicine that nearly one in four individuals who use heroin go on to develop an addiction.

For Information and Support 

Substance abuse and addiction can be incredibly dangerous and can result in severe short and long-term consequences. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please get help as soon as possible. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to leading happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. There is no reason to go through this alone, and we are here to help. Please feel free to reach out to us for further information or with any questions regarding substance abuse or addiction. We are available anytime via telephone at: 213-389-9964, or you can always email us at:

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