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Top 5 Most Deadly Abused Drugs and How Ebb Tide Can Help


The possibility of surviving a lethal drug overdose depends on a number of variables. Although people who dabble with recreational drugs may never overdose or survive one if it happens, individuals with an addiction to any one of the five deadly abused drugs may not escape unscathed. According to first responders, even with the administration of Narcan; the overdose reversal drug, it is not always possible to stop the lethal effects of these highly potent substances. While it is true that an overdose can occur with the abuse of any drug, the impact of these potent chemicals plays out differently in terms of mortality rates.

Classification of what constitutes a dangerous or deadly drug of abuse is determined by…

  • toxicity levels,
  • the potential for causing a chemical dependence or addiction in the average user,
  • ability to effect violent or other patterns of negative behavior and the impact on the safety and well-being of society at large; including the burden of cost for hospital admissions and rehabilitation services.

Based on the number of people dying from drug overdoses, the five most deadly drugs identified by law enforcement includes the following:

  1. Heroin tops the list for fatalities based on data from the National Vital Statistics System. In the last five years, cheaper, stronger versions of heroin have become more proliferous. A popular trend of blending other toxic substances with heroin to increase its potency has made this drug even more deadly.  In fact, an analysis conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics reported a significant surge in overdose deaths attributed to the consumption of drug cocktails containing combinations of heroin and fentanyl. First responders also report that Narcan is often found to be ineffective as a complete antidote to reverse the overdose effects of a heroin/fentanyl blend.
  2. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid analgesic that has exacerbated the drug overdose crisis. The proliferation and illicit use of fentanyl is recognized as a primary contributor to the current trajectory of abuse, addiction and overdose deaths. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fentanyl is usually prescribed to treat chronic pain in patients with a physical tolerance to other opioids. What is most concerning about the spike in illicit use of this schedule II prescription drug, is its potency. It is reportedly 40 times stronger than heroin. And, although most drug users surveyed say they are not actively seeking to use fentanyl, law enforcement say it is found in about 40% of the drugs that is sold to people with a heroin addiction.
  3. Cocaine rank high among drugs that people overdose on every year according to a Center for Disease Control (CDC) survey. Death’s typically occur when this drug is combined with other substances or drugs such as alcohol, opioids or benzodiazepines.
  4. Benzodiazepines comes from a category of psychoactive drugs such as alprazolam and diazepam. Commonly referred to as “Benzos” illicit use of these drugs typically occurs in combination with alcohol or opioids such as oxycodone or heroin as a means to enhance or prolong their effects.  It is not uncommon for people with a legitimate reason to use a Benzodiazepine drug to accidentally combine it with alcohol or other prescription medications. This along with illicit use of a benzodiazepine for its euphoric effects are common causes of drug overdose.
  5. Hydrocodone and Oxycodone are identified in the CDC prescription opioid overdose data as the most commonly abused prescription drugs related to overdose deaths. A Hydrocodone product like Vicodin is in the same family of drugs as morphine.  These have a high potential for abuse because of their ability to cause physical dependence and addiction.  Oxycodone such as OxyContin is often used as an alternative to heroin. Addiction experts also say that they see a correlation between the illicit use of these prescription drugs and the new wave of heroin-related overdoses.

Emergency medical treatment is critical no matter which drug causes the overdose.  However, to address an addiction or to avoid another drug overdose, it is important to participate in a drug intervention and rehabilitation program that provides a customized continuum of care.

If you or a loved one has experienced a drug overdose or have an addiction to one of the five deadly drugs or other substance abuse concerns, we encourage you to call Ebb Tide Treatment Centers today at (561) 799-3680.  Our rehabilitation services include both partial hospitalization and outpatient care. Because we recognize that without appropriate treatment a fatal drug overdose could occur with the very next use, we strive to make our treatment program the only one you will ever need. Visit us at


Ebb Tide Treatment Center
400 Executive Center Dr. Suite 209
West Palm Beach, FL 33410




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