What Is The Most Dangerous Drug In The World?

The results of their study might make you reconsider your Friday evening plans. Pavel Kubarkov/Shutterstock

AsapSCIENCE and In A Nutshell (Kurzgesagt), two of the coolest nerds on YouTube, have collaborated on a new animation that aims to reveal the most dangerous drug in the world. Here's a clue, it isn't heroin or cocaine.

First off, there are a few things you need to consider. If we are just talking about lethal substances, the deadliest known drug is botulinum toxin, better known as Botox or the stuff people inject into faces for cosmetic purposes. Just 0.00000007 grams of this is enough to kill an average-sized human – there’s something to think about next time you get worried about a wrinkle.

However, lethality is not necessarily a good measure of danger. As explained in the video, a team of UK scientists carried out an investigation to discover how much harm is caused by 25 different recreational drugs using 16 new parameters. These parameters also considered wider forms of physical, psychological, and social harm, including the risk of dependency, impairment of mental functioning, and its association with criminal activities. This multi-criteria analysis allowed them to gauge the harm to the individual user and the harm to others, something other analyses have not looked at.

At the bottom of the ranks, causing the least harm to both users and others, were magic mushrooms, LSD, and ecstasy. These three recreational drugs had a relatively low rate of harm to the user, while the harm to others was practically non-existent. Although these drugs are not exactly harmless, they’re not innately addictive nor widely associated with crime.

In terms of harm to an individual, heroin is the most dangerous. It’s easy to develop a physical dependency, it has terrible withdrawal symptoms, it directly causes numerous health complications, and it's associated with all kinds of social problems. Crack cocaine was not too far behind heroin, also posing a high risk to the user and others. After this pair, there was methamphetamine, cocaine, tobacco, then amphetamines. 

However, none of these drugs were the most dangerous overall. In regards to overall harm, alcohol takes the top spot by a long shot. Check out the video below to see why this socially acceptable and perfectly legal drug is so very dangerous.

 

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