As Ireland takes the first steps towards decriminalising heroin and cocaine for personal use, we’ve done a little digging and compiled a list of the top 10 most dangerous drugs and what they can do to your body and mind.
If you’ve taken even a few of these in your lifetime, it’s a bit of a surprise you’re not already dead in a ditch somewhere…
We’ve got to start with one of the worst ones haven’t we really? It is estimated that one million Russians are addicted to krokodil and – at a third of the price of heroin – at £20 per gram, it’s the low price substitute and it’s no wonder why it’s so cheap. The chemical compound is usually homemade and as well as having a few different meds in there, it includes a concoction of pretty grim stuff like lighter fluid and industrial cleaning agents. Frequent use is extremely dangerous and can cause gangrene and even rotting flesh. Congrats, you’re now officially a zombie.
A drug that’s widely available in South Africa, Whoonga is a combo of drugs which are used to treat HIV cut with detergents and poisons. Eww. As the country has a high rate of HIV sufferers it’s high popularity makes its incredibly cheap. The addictive substance can cause major health problems like stomach ulcers, internal bleeding and eventually, death.
Something that has done the rounds in the U.S., bath salts aren’t those ones you drop into your bath before you have a soak, it’s a synthetic crystalline drug which may sound harmless but is anything but. Similar to mepehdrone, the drug has been prominent on social media due to its ‘zombification’ and its side effects are pretty terrifying. They include psychiatric behaviour, psychosis, panic attacks and violent behaviour, oh and it can lead to heart attacks.
This is a stimulant with a very similar chemical compound to what is found in bath salts. Originally marketed as a legal high alternative to party drug ecstasy, the effects are dramatically different. Raised heart rate, enhanced emotions and if taken in large amounts can give prominent hallucinations. It’s capable of causing long-term psychological damage and can possibly cause heart failure as well. Noticing a pattern here?
A synthetic opioid, this was readily available online legally until it was made a Class A in January this year. With 80 per cent potency of morphine, it was coined as ‘legal heroin’ and is believed to be incredibly dangerous, with the possibility of users having respiratory arrest and gangrene.
Crystal meth is one of the most destructive drugs in the world and made even more famous by Walter H White. First created in the late 1800s, it was used by both sides during WWII to keep troops awake and use as a diet aid, remaining legal until 1970- bloody hell! It’s now fallen into the hands of deadly Mexican cartels, with supply going around the world. Short-term users can become increasingly anxious and sleep deprived, but long-term usage can cause brain damage and damage of your blood vessels. Deadly.
First arriving on the scene in the 80s, crack cocaine has become a widely used substance all over the world humorously name-dropped in Peep Show for being ‘so moreish’, but this drug is no joke. After the price of cocaine dropped considerably, it enabled dealers to form their supply into rocks by using baking soda to turn their cocaine into a rock form. During the height of its popularity it was estimated that there were 10 million users in the U.S. alone. The knock on effects include liver, kidney and lung damage as well as damaging blood vessels which would lead to heart attacks and strokes.
One of the older drugs on our list, heroin was created in 1874. Prescribed as a strong painkiller back in the day (strong, is probably an understatement) it was finally made illegal in 1971 and since, has become one of the most destructive susbtances on the planet. It can cause gum inflammation, muscular weakness, insomnia, and severely weakens your immune system. Just to top it all off, it can also damage blood vessels which can lead to gangrene.
A derivative of the nightshade plant found in Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela, one grams of scopolamine is capable of killing 20 people (yes, that’s 20) so you could say it’s pretty poisonous. The drug is often used by criminals and is usually blown in the face of unexpected victims, making them lose their inhibitions, self control and unable to remember anything during that time- which sounds very similar to a heavy night out to me. The CIA also revealed just over 20 years back that they trialled it as a truth serum during the Cold War but it didn’t quite have the desired effect- I can’t imagine why!
One of the stranger drugs on our list, purple drank, was made popular by hip-hop heavyweights in the 90s with the likes of Jay Z mentioning it in some of his songs. A mix of soda water, sweets and cold medicine, the high codeine amount make users woozy, but long-term repercussions can be repertory issues and heart failure.
It’s safe to say it’s probably best to avoid all of these like the plague.