Most addictive street drugs?

Just of curiosity, not a personal thing. My positioning of heroin is derived from some research, as I haven’t ever indulged.

Mine, in descending order:

  1. Heroin
  2. Cigarettes*
  3. Oxy
  4. Xanax/other benzos

Let’s include prescription drugs that are often diverted to the street.

*Based on what my psych says

Edit: oops, forgot to consider meth, coke, and amphetamines as top candidates!

I think meth needs to be at the top of the list.

What position do you think meth should occupy in a list?

#1. That’s why I said “at the top.” :slight_smile:

I have no experience with any of these, except smoking a few cigarettes during undergrad.

A friend of mine who was hooked on both heroin and cigarettes said he had an easier time quitting the heroin.

Crack should be on this list.
A 60 second high and then you want some more.

I have been working with addicts and alcoholics for the past 25 years and I really culdn’t tell which is the most addictive. It depends a lot on the personality of the user I think. I have lots of friends who have struggled with heroin addiction for decades with many periods of a few years at a time clean. Meth users seem to be at least as bad but tend to have a decent recovery rate once they get a couple of years in clean.

It is hard to say with the prescription drug users because they lie so much, they will say they are prescribed but tend to turn up dead from overdoses all too often.

 No guess from me, they are all bad.

People rarely use crack, meth, or heroin unless they’re already addicted to other things, usually alcohol and who knows what else, so it’s hard to say.

Addicts across the board almost always start with tobacco (which is an illegal drug if they’re under 18) and also say that it’s the hardest to quit, and not just because you can buy it anywhere.

You forgot caffeine. It’s the only highly addictive drug legal around the globe, and probably has the most addicts.

Look, we can sit around and speculate till the cows come home, or we can do this scientifically. Who’s holding?

In terms of truly physically difficult, uncomfortable withdrawals that are not generally life-threatening, tops would be opioids, and stimulants like coke, meth, amphetamines.

In terms of pretty uncomfortable AND truly life-threatening consequences of the withdrawal, tops would be alcohol, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines.

In terms of nuisance symptoms but not horribly difficult to withdraw from, tops would be caffeine. Psychedelics could be considered in this category too, though their withdrawals don’t generally rise to the level of nuisance.

In terms of nuisance symptoms that can last for months or years, tops would be nicotine.

QtM, from personal research and decades of work in the addiction medicine field.

Steven Tyler, who’s done a lot of personal research in the field of drug abuse, says that he found nicotine to be the hardest drug to quit using.

There is no single answer to this question, though Qadgop’s looks dead on to me in terms of general populations.

It depends a lot on the user. No single drug is addictive to everyone. The best example I can think of is a friend on mine … let’s call him Bob. He’s done every drug mentioned in the thread so far, most of them multiple times. For Reasons, he had to go clean for a month. He didn’t make it, and do you know which drug it was that threw him for a loop? Cannabis, one of the least addictive drugs on the planet. He could regularly dabble with cocaine, oxy, crack and meth, but he couldn’t quit smoking weed, even with strong external motivation. The list of people on this planet who think weed is more addictive than crack is probably pretty small, but I know one guy on it.

Another dude I used to know, let’s call him Charles. Charles regularly used illegal stims, mostly coke and meth, with no signs of being addicted. This happened for well over a decade. Sadly, Charles found heroin much more addictive, and he was dead from an OD in less than a year from his first hit. He got a batch much stronger than usual, and it was game over.

Obviously, Bob and Charles would write their lists in different orders. Who is right?

I’ll also disagree with nearwildheaven. I have known multiple addicted users of crack and heroin, and very few of them were addicted to any other drugs, except nicotine. (Which they mostly mooched, and rarely bought) In the end, money spent on other drugs was just less money for crack/heroin. The only regular exception I saw was alcohol and stimulants, which wasn’t an uncommon pairing.

Oxycodone is a prescription drug that is often diverted to the street.

For many of them, it’s less a function of what the drug is rather than how it is administered. Despite what a 90s-style DARE education will tell you, crack is not some superdrug version of cocaine. It is a form of cocaine that is easy to smoke. The result is that it enters your bloodstream faster than nasal insuffulation. And although we think of ourselves as sophisticated creatures, we are still animals, and have a much easier time associating the act of taking the drug with the resultant good/euphoric effects if the time lapse between the events is smaller. So in that merit, crack cocaine is more addictive than non-freebase forms of cocaine. The potential for abuse of the various benzodiazepines also varies as a function of half-life, I believe. Similarly, many methods of getting off of cigarettes can fail because they fail to replicate the non-drug related ritual of smoking. I don’t smoke but when I have it is great for giving your hands something to do.

The “gateway drug” theory may improperly account for causation.

I’m not sure if amphetamines or opiates are more addictive. Nicotine is addictive too, probably more than street drugs. Alcohol isn’t a street drug but a lot of people have trouble giving that up.

I heard Kroc was instantly addictive.


Cigarettes are not “street drugs”. Breaking an addiction to a substance that provides no “high” or the corresponding “low” is not comparable to a substance that does.

Aside from cigarettes and alcohol, one of the hardest, if not nearly as widespread as the others, seems to be synthetic marijuana. I’ve known quite a few people who used it back when it was legal (including me) who had a hell of a time quitting it when it became illegal (including me.) I’ve never been a big user of other drugs (except cigarettes), but I found marijuana much easier to quit than the fake stuff. I’ve got friends who have kicked heroin and cocaine and had a harder time with synthetic marijuana.

Seriously. I’m no prude. I think any safe way people can get their kicks without hurting themselves or other people, go for it. But synthetic weed is really bad shit.

Cigarettes do not belong anywhere on that list, nor does caffeine. They are not street drugs, and nobody ever goes to rehab to quit them (nor should they).

Based on ease of addictability I would say:
[li]Crack/Meth (smoked)[/li][li]Meth (snorted)[/li][li]Cocaine (powder, snorted)[/li][li]Oxy (pills, swallowed)[/li][li]Injectables (Heroin, Meth, Cocaine, Oxy)[/li][/ol]
Even though I think an IV opiate addiction is probably the most difficult to stop, injectables are harder to start due to the inherent squeamishness most all people have with needles.