Five most addictive substances

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

CNN -- There's no shortage of addictive substances but some are more dangerous than others.

There are five highly addictive substances, according to a study in the medical journal "The Lancet".

Number one is heroin.

It's an opiate that can cause the level of dopamine in the brain to increase as much as 200%. If you take a dose five times bigger than the amount you need to get high, it can kill you.

Number two is cocaine.

Cocaine prevents neurons in your brain from shutting off dopamine signals. About 21% of people who try it become addicted to it.

Number three is nicotine.

Nicotine is rapidly absorbed in the lungs and sent to the brain. It's so addictive, that more than two-thirds of Americans who try smoking become dependent at some point.

Number four is barbiturates, also called "downers."

Initially used to treat anxiety disorders, barbiturates interfere with signals in the brain, causing certain regions to shut down. While low doses can cause euphoria, higher doses can suppress your breathing, with lethal consequences.

Number five is alcohol.

Not only is it legal, but it's also socially acceptable. Like harder drugs, alcohol also raises dopamine levels in the brain. About 23% of people who have tried alcohol will develop a dependence on it.

According to the World Health Organization, more than three million people died in 2012 due to damage to the body caused by alcohol.