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17 September 2014
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Drugs

Most dangerous drug?

Below are descriptions of twenty of the most dangerous drugs evaluated in a new study published in the Lancet medical journal.

Which do you think is Britain's most dangerous drug?

4-MTA

4-MTA

Street names: flatliner, goldeneagle
Street price: £1-8
UK users: not known
UK deaths/year: 0 recorded


Dealers often sell this class-A stimulant as a replacement for ecstasy, but it does not produce the same euphoric high. Users take more thinking it hasn't worked and can overdose.

Ecstasy

Ecstasy

Street names: E, hug drug, love drug
Street price: £1-8
UK users: 500,000
UK deaths/year: 27


An illegal class-A stimulant, ecstasy can cause mild hallucinations, feelings of euphoria, empathy and energy. It causes increases in body temperature and heart rate.

Alcohol

Alcohol

Street price: from £1
UK users: 40 million
UK deaths/year: 40,000




Alcohol is a depressant but removes inhibitions at low doses. At higher doses, drinkers may experience slurred speech, reduced coordination, nausea and vomiting. Long-term use can damage the heart, liver and stomach.

GHB

GHB

Street name: liquid ecstasy
Street price: £5/cap full
UK users: not known
UK deaths/year: 3



An illegal class-C sedative, GHB makes you happy, sensual and uninhibited in small doses. However, the difference between a buzz-inducing dose and a lethal one is barely noticeable. GHB can also kill when mixed with alcohol.

Alkyl nitrite

Alkyl nitrites

Street names: poppers, liquid gold
Street price: £2-6 a bottle
UK users: 400,000
UK deaths: 0 recorded



Alkyl nitrite is a non-addictive, legal drug. Sniffed straight from the bottle, it delivers a short high and relaxes sphincter muscles. Poppers may leave users sick and weak and are toxic if swallowed.

Heroin

Heroin

Street names: brown, skag, gear, smack
Street price: £10-20/bag
UK users: 300,000
UK deaths/year: 700


An extremely addictive class-A drug, heroin may be injected or smoked. When injected it can produce feelings of euphoria. As it affects the part of the brain that controls breathing, an overdose can kill.

Amphetamine

Amphetamine

Street names: speed, whiz, dexies or billys
Street price: £8-12/wrap
UK users: 430,000
UK deaths/year: 35


A class-A&B drug, amphetamines can make users feel energetic and confident. They can be intensely addictive. As tolerance builds up consumption increases, leading to paranoia, depression, panic attacks and violent mood swings.

Ketamine

Ketamine

Street names: special K, vitamin K
Street price: £15-40/g
UK users: 100,000
UK deaths: 1



This class-C drug is normally used as a horse tranquiliser. It has very strong pain-killing effects but has become a popular illegal drug because it is also a strong hallucinogen.

Steroids

Anabolic steroids

Street price: £20 for 100 tablets
UK users: 42,000
UK deaths/year: 0




A class-C illegal drug used in muscle building, anabolic steriods can make users aggressive and violent and cause sterility, liver failure, strokes and heart attacks.

Khat

Khat

Street names: Abyssinian tea, African salad
Street price: £4/bunch
UK users: 40,000
UK deaths per year: 0 recorded


This legal stimulant makes users feel alert and energised but in excess it can cause insomnia, impotence and high blood pressure.

Barbiturates

Barbiturates

Street names: pink ladies, red devils
Street price: £1-2/tablet
UK users: not known
UK deaths/year: 20


Doctors prescribe barbiturates for depression, anxiety and insomnia. Illegal users can feel relaxed and sociable. A normal dose and an overdose are difficult to tell apart, making barbiturates very dangerous. Class: A (injected) and B (capsules).

LSD

LSD

Street names: Lucy, trips, paper mushrooms
Street price: £1-5/tab
UK users: 83,000
UK deaths/year: 0 recorded


Lysergic acid diethylamide is an illegal class-A drug and gives users feelings of well being, powerful hallucinations and emotional journeys. LSD is physiologically non-toxic.

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines

Street names: benzos, downers
Street price: £1 for 4 x 5mg capsules
UK users: 100,000
UK deaths/year: 406


These class-C drugs are minor tranquilizers, such as vallium, prescribed to treat anxiety, insomnia and seizures. Illegal abuse can cause memory loss, nausea, anxiety and depression. Consuming benzos with alcohol often kills.

Methylphenidate

Methylphenidate

Street name: vitamin R
Street price: £15/hit
UK users: 15,000
UK deaths/year: 0 recorded



The active ingredient in drugs such as Ritalin, this class-A stimulant is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Illegal users crush the tablets and snort them for a quick high. Abuse can cause vomiting, convulsions, tremors, and delirium as well as dependency.

Buprenorphine

Buprenorphines

Street names: subbies, temmies
Street price: £2 for 4 x 8mg capsules
UK users: unknown
UK deaths/year: 2


A class-C opiate normally used to treat severe pain and heroin dependence, this drug is used illegally for its euphoric and hallucinogenic effects. Without medical guidance buprenorphines are highly addictive, and users are at high risk of overdosing.

Solvents

Solvents

Street price: from £2
UK users: 30,000
UK deaths/year: 50-60




These legal substances are inhaled so they get into the lungs very quickly and give users a quick high. Many solvents are poisonous chemicals like tolumine and have a very toxic effect on the heart.

Cannabis

Cannabis

Street names: dope, hash and bob
Street price: £40-140/ounce
UK users: 3 million
UK deaths/year: 1



This class-C drug is usually smoked. In small doses cannabis induces euphoria, relaxation and pain relief but in high doses it can bring on paranoia and short-term memory loss. Use can also lead to some form of dependency.

Street methadone

Street methadone

Street names: the precious, slime, green
Street price: £10/100ml
UK users: 33,000 illegal users
UK deaths/year: 295


Prescribed medically, methadone reduces the withdrawal effects of heroin and tends reduce heroin use. Illegal methadone is often diluted with other ingredients and the strength of doses can be hard to judge.

Cocaine

Cocaine

Street names: Charlie, coke, base
Street price: £30-60/g powder; £10-20 crack rock
UK users: 780,000
UK deaths/year: 214


Users snort cocaine powder and smoke or inject the rock form, crack. Both forms of this class-A drug are dangerous. Crack reaches the brain almost instantly and leaves users very vulnerable to dependence.

Tobacco

Tobacco

Street price: from £5
UK users: 10 million
UK deaths: 114,000




Tobacco is an extremely addictive drug responsible for 20% of UK deaths, a 10-year reduction of average life expectancy and 40% of all hospital illnesses.


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