What Are Commonly Used Addictive Substances?

Below is a brief list of commonly addictive substances. Learn how they may affect you or your loved ones. The substances below are listed from most to least common.

  1.  Tobacco (Nicotine) - Although tobacco is not illegal, its use claims more lives annually than any other addictive substance.

  2.  Alcohol - Alcohol dependency has many negative consequences. In addition to deaths from liver disease and alcohol overdose, drunk driving claims thousands of lives every year.

  3.  Marijuana - As more states move to legalize both recreational and medicinal marijuana, the drug has become easier to access and more socially acceptable. At the same time, marijuana potency has increased, increasing the drug’s addictive potential.

  4.  Painkillers - Drugs like codeine, Vicodin and Oxycodone are commonly prescribed to treat pain. Dependence on painkillers can develop from seemingly harmless levels of use. Most patients who become addicted to prescription painkillers don’t notice they have a problem until they try to stop their use. 

  5.  Cocaine - Although cocaine addiction rates have been dropping in America, crack cocaine, which is cheaper and more intense than regular cocaine, is responsible for many addictions and ruined lives.

  6.  Heroin - Beating a heroin dependency can be difficult due to its severe withdrawal symptoms. Heroin addiction treatment typically includes a combination of therapy and medications to help manage symptoms of withdrawal and cravings.

  7.  Benzodiazepines - Drugs such as Valium, Xanax, Ativan and Klonopin are prescribed as mood-regulating drugs to manage conditions like anxiety and stress. People who use these drugs regularly may be unaware of their dependency until they realize they can’t function normally without them.

  8.  Stimulants - Stimulants range from prescription drugs, such as Ritalin or Adderall, to illegal substances like methamphetamines. These drugs are highly addictive, and intense withdrawal symptoms make quitting them difficult for most people.

  9.  Inhalants - Inhalants are volatile toxic substances like cleaning products, gasoline and aerosols. Inhalant addiction is particularly dangerous because inhalants are toxic chemicals that linger in the brain and body long after exposure.

  10.  Sedatives (barbiturates) - Millions of prescriptions are written annually for barbiturate sedatives, commonly known as sleeping pills. Over time, sleeping pills like Lunesta or Ambien can produce mind-altering effects that lead to dependency. 

Addiction Information

At Mercy, we offer compassionate care for a variety of inpatient & outpatient substance abuse treatment services, including: Mercy offers support groups in many communities based on needs and availability. You might find it helpful to also pursue programs and resources offered through reputable mental health agencies.