We’d never recommend anyone does drugs (especially the illegal ones). But if you do have your heart set on mind-altering substances, it’s probably wise to avoid these five – as they’ve been found to be the most addictive substances in the world.

A group of addiction experts, chemists, forensic scientists, and pharmacologists, headed up by Professor David Nutt, analysed the addictive qualities of different drugs to have a go at, ranking them in terms of how addictive they are.

The researchers averaged out three factors: pleasure given by use, psychological dependence, and physical dependence. They then gave each drug a ranking from zero to three, with zero being the least addictive and three being the most.

Here are the five substances they rated to be the most addictive.

• Heroin, with a score of 3
• Cocaine, with a score of 2.4
• Nicotine, with a score of 2.2
• Barbiturates, with a score of 2
• Alcohol, with a score of 1.9

It’s worth noting that while alcohol comes in at number five in terms of its addictive qualities, previous research lists it as the most damaging of the drug of the lost, with the World Health Organisation estimating that around 5.9 per cent deaths worldwide are attributable to alcohol consumption.

Barbiturates, meanwhile, are often prescribed to treat seizures and anxiety. The most addictive drugs aren’t all the big scary Class A’s you might expect – three (nicotine, barbiturates, and alcohol) of the top five are legal to consume and widely accepted to use. That doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous. So, be careful!


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