From the perspective of different researchers, the potential for drug dependence can be assessed in terms of the damage it causes, the street value of the drug, the extent to which the drug activates the brain's dopamine system, how pleasant people are to report the drug to be , the extent to which the drug causes withdrawal symptoms, and how easily the person trying to use the drug will get stuck.
There are other aspects to measuring the drug's drug addiction, and there are even researchers who claim that no drugs are always addicted. Given the differing viewpoint of researchers, then, one way of ranking dependent drugs is to look for expert panels.
Experts at Nutt et al. Ranked heroin as the most attractive drug, giving a score of 3 of the maximum score of 3. Heroin is an opiate that causes the dopamine level in the brain reward system to increase to 200% in experimental animals. In addition to being probably the most attractive drug, heroin is dangerous, because the dose that can cause death is only five times the required dose for high.
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Heroin is also rated as the second most harmful drug in terms of harm to users and society. The market for illegal opiates, including heroin, in 2009 is estimated at $ 68 billion.
Cocaine is directly mixed with the use of dopamine in the brain to transmit messages from one neuron to another. In essence, cocaine prevents neurons from turning the dopamine signal, resulting in abnormal activation of the brain drain paths. In animal experiments, cocaine causes the level of dopamine to grow more than three times the normal level. It is estimated that between 14 million and 20 million people worldwide use cocaine and that in 2009 the cocaine market was worth about 75 billion dollars.
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Explosive cocaine is ranked by experts as the third most used drug and cocaine in powder, which causes milder high, as the fifth most harmful. About 21% of people who try cocaine will become dependent on it somewhere in their life. Cocaine is similar to other dependent stimulants, such as methamphetamine – which is becoming more and more problematic because it is becoming more widely available – and amphetamine.
Nicotine is the main additive ingredient in tobacco. When someone smokes a cigarette, nicotine is quickly absorbed from the lungs and transferred to the brain. The expert panels of Nutt et al evaluate nicotine (tobacco) as the third most dependent substance.
More than two-thirds of Americans who tried to smoke reported becoming addicted to their lives. In 2002, the WHO estimates that there are over 1 billion smokers and it is estimated that tobacco will kill more than 8 million people annually by 2030. Laboratory animals have a good sense not to smoke. However, the rats will press a button to receive nicotine directly into the bloodstream – and this causes dopamine levels in the brain reward system to increase by about 25% to 40%.
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4. Barbiturates ("downhill")
Barbiturates – also known as blue bullets, gorillas, nembies, spines, and pink ladies – are a class of drugs that were originally used to treat anxiety and induce sleep. They interfere with chemical signaling in the brain, the effect of which is to exclude different brain regions. At low doses, barbiturates cause euphoria, but at higher doses can be fatal because they suppress breathing. Barbarytic addiction was common when drugs were readily available with a prescription, but this dropped drastically, as other drugs replaced them. This emphasizes the role that the context plays in dependence: if drug addiction is not widely available, it can do little harm. NAT's expert panels and rated barbiturates as the fourth most addictive substance.
Although it is legal in the United States and in the UK, alcohol has been achieved by experts from Nutt et al. 1.9 of maximum 3. Alcohol has many effects on the brain, but in laboratory animal experiments it increased the dopamine level in the brain reward system from 40% to 360% – and the more animals drank more levels of dopamine increased.
About 22% of people who have taken a drink will develop dependence on alcohol at some point during their lifetime. WHO estimates that 2 billion people used alcohol in 2002 and more than 3 million people died in 2012 due to body damage caused by drinking. Alcohol is ranked as the most harmful remedy by other experts.
Eric Bauman is a psychologist and neuroscience lecturer at St. Andrews University and received funding from the British Medical Research Council.