Whether you’ve done them, seen your friends on them or seen the effects they can have on people in movies, you’re probably well-versed on the dangers associated with them. But while most of us know that taking too many pills can cause a heart attack or snorting too much cocaine can cause respiratory failure, a lot of people assume that they have to be addicts or take excessive amounts for that to happen.
There has been an increase in deaths amongst recreational drug users in the United States in the past decade due to users being uninformed about the substances they choose to put into their bodies. Most young users assume that because they’re popping a small pill and not injecting their arms with heroin, they’re safe from any risk. But little do they know, that one pill can be just as, if not more harmful, than an injection could be. Most of the time, all it takes to overdose is for the body to get mixed signals from the brain and then shut down, either by overheating, cardiac arrest, respiratory failure or by retaining too much water. For most users, this happens after years of addiction and after repeatedly increasing the dosage taken to the point of no return. But for others, it can happen the first time a drug is tried. The body is a complex beast and many factors can trigger it to shut down. Whether you accidentally mix heroin with alcohol or drink too much water while you’re partying on MDMA, meeting your drug-related demise is a lot easier than you think. The bottom line is, hard drugs are a slippery slope because there’s a risk associated with every use. Read on to find out about ten drugs that can kill you in minutes, and just how they do it.
10. Crystal Meth
Known as methamphetamine, crystal meth is an extremely addictive drug that affects the human central nervous system. It comes in clear crystal chunks or shiny blue and white rocks and is typically smoked or injected. Popularized by the hit television series Breaking Bad, this drug is dangerous because humans can build up a tolerance to it quickly. When users can’t feel their high anymore, they take a greater dose which can kill them instantly if the meth causes their body temperature to rise too high.
MDMA is a pure form of ecstasy that is often taken as a party drug. It is both a stimulant and a tranquilizer and is most often taken as a pill although can also be snorted. It’s popular in social settings because it makes the user feel comfortable, closer to the people around them and energized to dance all night. The danger associated with taking MDMA is that it can increase the heart rate and blood pressure of its user to the point of heart failure. Alternatively, it also affects the kidneys’ diuretic abilities and can cause an overload of fluid in the user’s body, leading to death. However, the typical cause of death by ecstasy overdose is the overheating of the body.
Ketamine is an anesthetic and pain control substance used on humans and animals by doctors that has made its way onto the recreational drug market. It’s available in either a clear liquid format to drink/inject or in an off-white powder to snort. Taking the drug results in powerful hallucinogenic and out-of-body experiences, making it especially popular among partiers and as a date rape tool. While most users pass out from ketamine before being able to overdose on it, a fatal dose can kill you in minutes by causing respiratory and heart failure.
7. Street Methadone
Methadone is typically given to opioid addicts by a doctor to help ease their withdrawal symptoms from drugs such as heroin and eventually break the addiction altogether. Street methadone is the term for methadone that isn’t supervised by doctors and is sold illegally. When given to addicts, it simply stops their withdrawal symptoms and allows them to function normally. However, it becomes very toxic if given purposely or accidentally to non-addicts. Unlike other drugs in the opioid category, it takes hours to feel its effects. So there’s no rush when a user takes it, leading them to think it’s not working and take a fatal dose to try to reach a high. It is especially dangerous when combined with alcohol or other drugs.
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug made from the leaves of a coca plant native to South America. It provides its user with short term euphoria, energy and a rapidly increased heart rate and blood pressure rate. It can be smoked, snorted or injected and produces only a short term high – leading most users to binge administer it. It affects the dopamine system and addicts have to take more and more of it to feel its high after each use. An overdose can kill you in minutes by causing cardiac arrest or a stroke.
The term opiates is used for drugs like codeine, morphine and vicodin that are a close relative of opium. They are legally used by doctors to treat pain but are highly addictive and have become a popular group of street drugs. Because opiates cause the user to experience a sense of euphoria, addicts chase the feeling by taking higher and higher doses as they develop a tolerance to the pills over time. Opiates are the major cause of death in the United States (moreso than car accidents) and can kill a user in moments by causing respiratory and heart failure.
Heroin is derived from the morphine found in opium and is one of the most popular and addictive drugs on the planet. It comes in all sorts of forms but its bottom line remains the same: users have no idea how powerful it is and there’s no way to anticipate how much of it can kill you. As users build a tolerance to it, they take higher doses and play a guessing game with their life before each use. Heroin depresses the parts of the brain that control breathing, temperature and blood pressure and can kill you in minutes with the right dose – especially when combined with alcohol.
Krokodil is a super dangerous street drug that is derived from morphine and has powerful sedative and pain-relief properties. Originally developed by scientists in Switzerland, it found its way to the black market due to it offering users a cheaper alternative to using heroin – as it can be made easily at home with over-the-counter ingredients. The thing with Krokodil is that it quite literally eats human flesh when injected by causing skin infections, necrosis, ulcerations and ultimately gangrene. While its effect on the skin will kill users within years, the potential of blood poisoning and heart failure can be fatal within minutes.
LSD, most commonly known as acid, is a powerful hallucinogenic drug that is manufactured from a fungus found growing on rye and other grains. It comes in either crystallized, tablet or liquid form and causes extreme mood swings, hallucinations, higher body temperature and increased heart rate. The greatest danger with this drug is the user’s warped perception of time and depth, coupled with extreme emotions such as panic and aggression caused by the hallucinations. Personal injury or reckless behaviour is often the cause of death. Alternatively, fatal doses can cause respiratory and heart failure.
Known as “The Devil’s Breath,” Scopolamine is known widely as the world’s scariest drug. It comes from the seed of a family of plants in Colombia that include angel’s trumpets and corkwood and blocks neurotransmitters that carry short-term memory information to the brain. It is often slipped into unsuspecting users’ drinks by criminals looking to rob them or have them commit acts they otherwise wouldn’t do due to the temporary lack of short term memory caused by the drug. Users wake up hours or days later having absolutely no recollection about what they have done under its effects. For this reason, personal injury to one’s self is the greatest risk with scopolamine as you would readily jump off a bridge if somebody told you to while on it. In rare cases, it can cause seizures.