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Cocaine, Heroin, Alcohol, Nicotine and Methamphetamine are the most addictive drugs. But, an individual’s addiction depends on a variety of factors.

Some people think that access to a drug is the primary factor in how addictive it will become. In reality, access to addictive drugs opens the door to addiction, but addiction is really a disease of the brain circuitry that controls behavior. Addiction is defined as the inability to control drug use. The specific effect on neurohormones of a particular drug, as well as any individual’s natural baseline brain circuitry are the two factors that determine how addictive a drug will be for that person. 

Stimulants, Opioids and Depressants (both prescription and recreational) have the most damaging effects on the brain development of younger people. Executive functions such as goal-setting, controlling impulses, and paying attention as well as the ability to process abstract information and understand social norms, rules, and laws can all be impaired permanently when a teenager or person in their early 20s uses these drugs.

The level of addiction depends on both the chemical properties of the drug, as well as physiological factors within the drug user.

For help with an addiction, check out these resources:

List of rehab centers and information on treatment types

SAMHSA’s National Helpline
1-800-662-HELP (4357)
Free and confidential treatment referrals and information

Free information about drug use and addiction