Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What's The Most Addictive Drug

The most addictive drug is nicotine. When you think of drug addiction, you think of a user with a rolled-up sleeve, sweating profusely, trying to find the best vein to inject his drug into. The most addictive drug is commonly found and one that we are all familiar with. Nicotine is present in cigarettes, cigars, pipes and chewing tobacco. Nicotine is a component of tobacco and is sold over the counter in drug stores, grocery stores and big box stores.

Addictive Drug

Nicotine is an addictive drug. According to a 2002 national survey on drug use and health administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 72 million people in the United States have used nicotine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 440,000 deaths occur yearly from nicotine use.

5 Determining Factors

A study conducted by two researchers showed that nicotine had the highest ranking of the substances that they considered, and it met the conditions they set up to establish the ranking. Heroin followed at a close second (see link in References).

Nicotine meets the requirements that make it addictive in the five ways the researchers established as necessary to make a substance most addictive: withdrawal, reinforcement, tolerance, dependence and intoxication. It causes withdrawal when you try to stop it. The desire for the substance is reinforced by repeated consumption. Tolerance builds, causing a person to use more of the drug. Dependence becomes established because you are unable to stop using nicotine. Intoxication occurs because the nicotine provides a feeling of elation.


Nicotine provides an almost immediate "kick" for the people who use it. This means a person will use nicotine and then experience pleasurable results right away. Nicotine, according to the two researchers, has an initial kick that is followed by fatigue and depression. This causes a person to want to use nicotine again to experience that immediate good feeling.


An addiction is a chronic, progressive and, sometimes, fatal disorder. Addiction is caused by both genetics and the environment. An addict will need more of his drug. He will need nicotine in increasing amounts to get that pleasurable feeling. The body and the mind will crave more. The addict will need the substance and cannot stop without experiencing painful withdrawal symptoms.

Side Effects

With the nicotine addiction, there are many unpleasant side effects, such as wheezing, bad breath, coughing, smelly clothing, hair, and stained teeth and nails. A person may also experience trouble breathing when he walks fast or participates in sports-related activities.


According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1 in every 5 deaths in the United States results from smoking. It harms nearly every organ in the body, such as the lungs, the heart and even the brain. Nicotine dependence, and thus smoking, causes many diseases.


For people who are addicted to nicotine, there is help. People can utilize the nicotine patch or nicotine gum. There are behavioral therapies for people to utilize. Researchers can now identify a person's genes that will tell if a person is predisposed to tobacco addiction. This will help to prevent a person from beginning nicotine usage, and it may help a person to stop using nicotine.

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