Below are five of the most dangerous drugs based on potency and likelihood of causing (or contributing to) death.
#1 Fentanyl and Carfentanil
Fentanyl – around 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine – is only prescribed in small doses for severe pain (such as post-surgery or for cancer patients). Even 2 milligrams can be lethal.
Carfentanil has no approved medical uses or human applications. It is 100 times stronger than regular fentanyl and 10,000 times as potent as morphine, making it one of the deadliest drugs known to man.
Alcohol ranks high in this list due to death count alone. Unlike other drug substances, potency or “overdose” on alcohol contributes less to the cause of death as does the resulting likelihood to engage in dangerous activities.
Drunk driving claims around 10,000 lives in the US annually, and estimated 88,000 Americans die from alcohol-related causes every year.
Opioid drugs have passed automobile accidents in the U.S. as the single largest cause of death. Heroin is incredibly addictive and one of the hardest drugs to quit, as it can cause painful withdrawals.
Methamphetamine (meth) is a powerful stimulant drug with extremely high addiction potential – even from first use. It is one of the few drugs to surpass fentanyl in annual overdose rate. Signs of meth overdose include hallucinations, seizures, hyperthermia, and excessive sweating.
Like alcohol, smoking’s high death rate stems not from overdose, but from directly related effects. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the US, with more than 480,000 deaths per year often as a result of long-term health effects such as cancer and other diseases.