Drug addiction doesn’t just affect those struggling with substance abuse. Drug addiction affects the families of those struggling as well. The opioid crisis is one of the national talking points, as is the legalization of certain other substances. However, it’s important to note that not all substances are created equal. Some substances are significantly more addictive than others. Below is a list of the most addictive drugs for 2018.


With an addiction rate of nearly 25% in its users, heroin is one of the most addictive drugs in the world. Somewhere around 586,000 Americans were labeled with a heroin use disorder. Heroin blocks feelings of pain by activating the opioid receptors in the brain. Users feel relaxation as dopamine levels in the brain rise. Partly because of the new regulations surrounding opioids, heroin use is increasing. This information comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Heroin addiction can happen somewhat quickly after a first use. Due to the increased feelings of relaxation, it’s very difficult for someone to use only once. Once addiction takes hold, the addicted individual will need to seek treatment help, and the symptoms of withdrawal are very painful. Users can experience depression, insomnia and flu-like symptoms, thus encouraging more use.


Perhaps, the most commonly used substance on this list, alcohol is a staple among many people’s dietary habits. Whether it be after work drinks with colleagues, a glass of wine with dinner, or a beer during a family cookout, alcohol use is a common aspect of day to day life. While these aren’t necessarily bad things, it’s still very common for drinkers to become addicted. Per the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), 1 out of 12 adults struggle with alcohol abuse.

Alcohol has a two fold system. It enhances moods while acting as a depressant. This means an inebriated individual may feel like the life of the party while their nerve system slows. When sobriety sets in, withdrawal symptoms can be mild, but they can also be dangerous. Users can experience depression, tremors, vomiting and, in some cases, seizures. This encourages further use.


Whether it’s snorted, smoked, or injected, cocaine is a very intense high. Cocaine acts as a stimulant, meaning it’s popular for those who feel they may be falling behind on work. As it works quickly, it is easily abused. In 2014, nearly one million Americans were struggling with cocaine abuse. Withdrawal symptoms often involve a “crash” that includes depression and fatigue.


Crack is mixture of baking soda and powder cocaine and is highly addictive. The drug is smoked, which means it works its way into the lungs. This is a different high from snorting or injecting cocaine. It works more quickly and is more addictive. Since the high is relatively short, it is easily abused. Withdrawal symptoms include depression and insomnia.


The addiction rates for drugs depends on substance. Methamphetamine is one of the most abused. Over half a million Americans struggled with meth in 2014. A man-made substance, meth can be smoked, snorted, or injected. While users may feel an increase in focus, the side effects can be quite severe. Meth can cause brain damage. This is partly due to our body’s ability to raise its tolerance for the drug. Taking more and more significantly impairs our ability to learn and remember basic information.

Withdrawal symptoms can include depression and suicidal thoughts, thus encouraging more use.


While decreasing in ubiquity, smoking is still one of the most common substances to be abused. Nicotine is a chemical found in tobacco smoke and is highly addictive. In fact, more than 32 million Americans smoke cigarettes on a daily basis in 2014. Nicotine is absorbed through the mouth and lungs and can raise spirits and cognition. This makes it more likely for smokers to keep smoking. However, the positive feelings associated with taking a drag from a cigarette wears off rather quickly, which encourages dependency and addiction.

Dependency builds and can be very difficult to quit all together. Withdrawal symptoms can include depression, anxiety and cravings. Because smoking is legal and we are readily exposed to second-hand smoke, it is easy to be triggered back into smoking. Those who quit often have to quit multiple times before officially having moved on from the substance.

Blu By the Sea

Drug addiction and alcohol abuse are serious conditions that require help. We hope this most addictive drug chart has given you some helpful information. If you or a loved one are struggling with any of the above substances, you are not alone. If you’re in the Destin, FL area and you or someone you know is struggling with any of the substances listed above (or something else), contact the team at Blu By the Sea today.