These 9 Dangerous Substances Are Highly Addictive, But People Keep Using Them


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These 9 Dangerous Substances Are Highly Addictive, But People Keep Using Them

Let's get something straight: drugs are bad. They ruin friendships, bank accounts, and lives. Yet people keep using them at an alarming rate, and deaths from overdoses and other drug-related complications keep skyrocketing. Why do people knowingly use substances that can kill them?

One major reason might be rooted in culture. Though cocaine in its purified form is highly addictive, the coca leaf it's derived from is actually widely used at high elevations to make living a bit easier. Khat, for example, is a substance that creates a false sense of euphoria, and yet 40% of all water in Yemen is still used in its farming. When there's demand, there's supply, and these ten substances are used by millions around the world even though they can lead to danger and death.

1. Coca leaves
These leaves are massively popular in Bolivia, where they're sold in markets and by street vendors. They come especially in handy when combatting altitude sickness, and locals in Bolivia consume around two ounces of the leaves per day. Two more widely known uses for coca are in Coca-Cola and cocaine, which is created through a chemical extraction process using the leaves. (All cocaine is removed from the coca used in Coca-Cola.)

2. Kava
Kava is often made into a drink that comes from a root. The drink has sedative properties that relax the user and put them in a relatively calm state. The drink is not illegal in the States, though various bureaus continue to examine kava for any adverse or negative effect it may have.

3. Yerba mate
This species of holly (yes, the stuff you deck the halls with on Christmas) causes a variety of cancers. However, people still use it as a drink for its appetite suppressant qualities, as well as focus-related properties similar to kava. Like kava, yerba mate is legal and available in the United States (often ironically found in health stores).

4. Khat
Chewing khat has been a widely practiced tradition in Yemen, Somalia, and neighboring countries for thousands of years. However, in countries like the U.S. and Canada, khat is classified as a controlled substance. Perhaps this is due to the euphoria and excitement induced by the leaves, creating an almost amphetamine-like effect on the user. The substance, which comes from a flowering plant, also has longterm mental health effects. It can even cause ulcers, liver failure, and oral cancer.

5. Areca nuts and Paan
These nuts are actually seeds, but are still called nuts or betel nuts because they're often used with betel leaves in a substance called paan. Paan is traditionally used in Southeast Asian countries like India and Pakistan. Like chewing tobacco or dip, using this substance frequently can cause oral cancer.

6. Amanita muscaria
Often referred to as fly agaric or fly amanita, this toadstool looks similar to those found in cartoons and video games. Unlike other mushrooms, using this substance causes odd perceptive effects (think Alice in Wonderland), as well as depression, sedation, and a number of other psychological problems. This little mushroom also effectively poisons the user when ingested.

7. Oxi
This drug is derived from cocaine paste, or Paco. It's a major problem in Brazil, as it has similar effects to cocaine, but it's more powerful than "crack" cocaine. Like cocaine, it's highly addictive, and comes with the same terrible psychological and physiological effects when smoked.

8. Methamphetamine
You might have watched Breaking Bad, but you don't know just how bad methamphetamine really is for the human body. The synthetic substance, which is arguably more addictive than heroin, causes everything from high blood pressure to psychosis, leaving even casual users with a bevy of mental and physical health problems. Meth is especially popular in the secluded nation of North Korea, where close to 50% of all North Koreans are addicted to the substance and nearly all adults have used it at one time.

9. Heroin
Heroin is one of the most addictive substances on the planet. It's synthesized from opium and consumed by smoking, snorting, and injecting. Many countries around the world have a growing heroin addiction problem and, in turn, a growing list of casualties from heroin overdoses. One country affected worse than others by the heroin epidemic is Iran, where around 3.5 million of the country's 78 million citizens are heroin users. This is likely due to the fact that a large percentage of the world's opium is produced in Afghanistan, its neighboring country.

If you find the idea of euphoria and heightened senses to be appealing, then drink some coffee and go for a run outside. Heck, doing anything besides these substances would be much safer. Plus, coffee doesn't induce psychosis, so it's a win-win!

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