Is there any drug that will reliably provoke physical dependence after one use?

I’ve heard at least a few times that it’s possible to become hopelessly (that is, physically) addicted to cocaine/morphine/heroin/etc. after just one use.

Given the state of misinformation and outright lies common to drug education in the USA, I am highly suspicious of any claim to that effect regardless of the substance mentioned.

However, I’m also just unsure enough of my knowledge of the mechanism of physical addiction in general that I would like to get some kind of confirmation here, where actual MDs (at least one of whom works in a prison and presumably sees more addicts daily than I have in a lifetime) dispense knowledge without the moralizing or pious lies common to ‘official’ and ‘common knowledge’ drug information.

So, to repeat the question, is it possible to get physically addicted to anything after just one use?

After that first use you are addicted for the rest of your life, and will suffer fatal wihdrawal symptoms within minutes. :wink:

I’m no expert, but I’d have to say oxycodone is a pretty good candidate. I was prescribed some after surgery, and I have to say–it feels good, damned good: a combination of narcotic high and surcease of pain. One’s first exposure to oxycodone is usually while under a lot of pain, but the stuff tends to make you not care at all about it. This is why I think it may be possible to be addicted after just one use, whether physically or mentally (where pain is involved, it’s both).
Once you’re addicted, cutting off cold turkey will promptly cause violent vomiting/diarrhea, plus a return of the pain you were trying to treat (presuming it was prescribed to you). I was smart, and weaned myself off it, but even after only a few weeks on the stuff it was quite a struggle.

I had a teacher who, after a big neck surgery, was prescribed something called Delauded (I think that’s it…). In any case, it was an opiate and apparently one that people have robbed pharmacies for in the past. I reckon that stuff’s a good candidate.
Then again, I’m no doctor. I just play one on tv.


I think you mean Dilaudin - it is an opiate (same family as opium & herion)

Yes, but with a huge caveat - everyone has different reactions based on their own chemistry.

Dosages, intended- and side-effects, are all based on averages. Person X, due to their personal, physical make-up, may become addicted to a substance after one try, whereas Person Z, due to their make-up, may not even experience the full range or force of the intended side-effects.

All substances, even those that cause physical dependency, are subject to the internal chemistry of the human body. Surely you know of people who can stop smoking cold-turkey effortlessly, and those who can’t even think about quitting without breaking a cold sweat?

You don’t get physically addicted after one dose of any drug.

But some people get such a rush of euphoria from a drug that they can become psychologically addicted after one dose. Physical addiction is a problem, but it can be overcome, people can go through physical withdrawl symptoms pretty easily. It’s the psychological addiction that brings them back, the memory how good the drug made them feel. If physical addiction were the problem then everyone who went through rehab would be cured.

I’m not sure. I do know that, the first time I was ever given IV morphine for pain, I was lying in the hospital a half-hour later, thinking, “boy, I can see how people could get hooked on this!” I’ve also had experience (lots of it) with the oxycodone (Percocet) that Giant Spongess speaks of, as well as the Dilaudid (oxymorphone) HungMung references. I can say that, although IV Dilaudid wears off pretty quickly, the high is almost instantaneous, and quite pleasant. I can see how people can get hooked on that, too. Pretty quickly.

Dilaudid is hydromorphone not oxymorphone.

My question isn’t really clear, on review. I guess I ended up asking two closely-related questions and one distantly-related one was brought up implicitly:
[li]Is there a drug that will reliably provoke physical addiction after one use? I suppose ‘reliably’ would be at least one-third of the time, or commonly enough it’s a known factor whenever the drug is used.[/li][li]Is it possible to become addicted to a drug after just one use? This is either biochemically possible or it isn’t. The incidence has nothing to do with it.[/li][li]Which is more difficult to kick: Physical addiction or psychological addiction? I didn’t really want to ask this question, but it’s certainly hanging in the air over this thread. This is borderline IMHO, and can really only be answered through case history analysis.[/li][/ul]I hope this clears things up.

That is, physically addicted. Sorry.


Right you are. Thank you for stepping in.

Is there a drug - laudenum - or something like that, which was mentioned in whodunits around the time of the Sherlock Holmes era?

I think it was very powerful and contained morphine or opium.

Laudanum. Opium dissolved in spirits, with other stuff added. Used medicinally for lots of ailments, including non-existent ones. As opium was the active ingredient, and, AFAIK, opium isn’t take-it-once-and-you’re-guaranteed-hooked, I;d say the answer is “No”.
I suspect the only one-time-hooked drigs are in Jack Chalker novels.