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What Is the Most Addictive Drug?

Drug addiction is a disease where an individual is unable to control drug use. It affects how your brain is wired and behaves. Addictive drugs act on the brain’s reward center and mechanism. They will act as a shortcut to feelings of reward and pleasure. Hence, they will also change how you process information. Some of the most addictive drugs could include cocaine, heroin, alcohol, nicotine, and methamphetamine. 

Abuse of addictive drugs can easily lead to chronic abuse and dependency. Drug dependency causes withdrawal symptoms and cravings when you do not use the drug. Thus, it is essential to get the help of professionals who understand drug addiction disease like The Detox Center of Los Angeles. We offer individualized treatment through evidence-based practices to address substance use disorder and mental health issues. 

Traits of the Most Addictive Drug

The most addictive drug depends on three main factors. They include:

  • The Intensity of Pleasure: The initial effect determines the intensity of pleasure upon consumption and the subsequent euphoria. Drugs with a high pleasure intensity are highly addictive and commonly abused.
  • Psychological Dependence: Psychological dependence on a drug is determined by repeated use of the drug, being afraid to stop, and continued use despite adverse effects. Highly addictive drugs have a high rate of psychological dependence. 
  • Physical Dependence: Physical dependence on a drug is characterized by cravings, increased tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms. 

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What Is the Most Addictive Drug?

There are both legal and illegal addictive drugs. Thus, it is essential to learn about the most addictive legal and most addictive illegal drugs. 

1. Nicotine — The Most Addictive Legal Drug

Nicotine is the most addictive legal drug. It is the main ingredient in cigarettes, vapes, and e-cigs. These products can be legally purchased in drug stores, gas stations, and grocery stores, among many other places. Many people do not consider nicotine to be a drug and take its products several times a day. 

Studies by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in 2014 show that 40 million people smoked cigarettes in the United States. Furthermore, in 2012, 4, every 100 people used smokeless tobacco products. However, every year in the United States, there are about 480,000 deaths related to nicotine. 

Why Is Nicotine Highly Addictive? Nicotine manipulates the neurotransmitter dopamine in your brain to create a feeling of reward. Dopamine makes you feel relaxed and want to smoke more.

If you are dependent on nicotine, you will feel tired, depressed, and anxious if you do not smoke. Thus, to avoid these feelings, you will keep on smoking, and the level of your addiction evolves. 

The risks associated with smoking nicotine

  • Stained teeth
  • Wrinkles
  • Discoloration of skin
  • Mouth cancer
  • Lung damage
  • Lung cancer
  • Blood clots
  • High blood pressure
  • Belly fats
  • Weaker immune system
  • Risk of stroke or heart attack
  • Risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Risk of various cardiopulmonary diseases.  

2. Heroin — The Most Addictive Illegal Drug

Heroin is the most addictive illegal drug. The drug has a score of 5 on a scale of 1 to 6. Furthermore, the Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States classifies heroin as a Schedule I drug. This is a class for highly addictive illegal drugs. 

Heroin is a product of the Asian poppy plant. It is derived from the plant’s seed pods. 

Why Is Heroin Highly Addictive? The body converts heroin to morphine. Morphine attaches to the brain’s opioid receptors to give the user an intense and quick euphoria. People continue to chase this euphoria in heroin addiction. 

Your body quickly builds heroin tolerance, and you will crave more after every use. Some people get addicted to heroin after one use. Thus, it would help if you got heroin addiction treatment as soon as possible.

The Risks of Using Heroin

Heroin will negatively impact your body’s vital functions like breathing, and as you take more, you risk an overdose. Furthermore, you face uncomfortable and severe withdrawal symptoms as soon as a few hours after your last use. The withdrawal comes with symptoms and side effects like:

  • Goosebumps
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Vomiting
  • Uncontrollable kicking movements 

Addiction Help at The Detox Center of Los Angeles

You can get help for addiction from any drug addiction and mental health wellness at The Detox Center of Los Angeles. We are a treatment wellness organization based in Los Angeles, California.  Three main programs guide the scope of our services. They include detox, residential treatment, and outpatient treatment.

However, the treatment itself is highly individualized and tailored to the needs of our patients. Our detox program is meant to help individuals to remove the drugs from their systems. The residential treatment program will offer a safe space to detox, and cope with the withdrawal symptoms. Our outpatient program is meant to help you slowly get back to your life without drugs. For example, you can attend while going to school or work.

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We seek to help you or your loved ones to get over substance use disorder or any co-occurring mental issues like bipolar disorder or depression. Contact us now to create an individualized treatment plan. 


Drug addiction, also known as substance use disorder, is a disease where an individual cannot stop drug abuse. Some drugs are more addictive than others. It does not matter whether the drug is legal or illegal. 

Nicotine is legal and found in tobacco products like cigarettes, e-cigs, and vapes. However, nicotine is very addictive and can cause life-threatening effects. It is responsible for 480,000 deaths a year in the United States alone. 

two friends standing by the fence

Heroin is considered to be the most addictive illegal drug. Some individuals get addicted after only one use. It has a quick and intense euphoria that heroin addicts chase. Moreover, your body quickly builds heroin tolerance, and you get to use more despite the effects. Heroin can have adverse effects on major functions of your body, such as breathing. 

Ready to Start Your Journey to a Healthy Lifestyle?

It is important to get help for any form of substance abuse. The Detox Center of Los Angeles offers all forms of addiction treatment, including medication and therapy. Contact us now to get help for you or your loved one.  


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Will my insurance cover treatment for addiction?

The Detox Center of L.A. accepts most major insurance providers and private healthcare policies. We offer free insurance verification as well as eligibility and benefits for both behavioral and mental health treatment services. Please fill out our insurance verification form here to verify your insurance.

What happens in addiction

Effective addiction treatment programs are tailored to each individual. Because of this, it will be a different experience for everyone. However, it generally involves a combination of detoxification, group and individual therapy, educational presentations, and aftercare planning in order to ensure long-term recovery. Upon arrival at The Detox Center of L.A., you can expect our professionally trained staff to create an individualized treatment plan based on your needs and treatment goals.