The Top Twenty Most Dangerous Drugs According to BBC Horizon

  1. Heroin A
  2. Cocaine A
  3. Barbiturates (Sedatives) B
  4. Methadone (Opioid) A
  5. Alcohol Legal
  6. Ketamine C
  7. Benzodiazepines (Sedatives) C
  8. Amphetamine (Speed) B
  9. Tobacco legal
  10. Buprenorphine (Opioid) C
  11. Cannabis C
  12. Solvents Legal
  13. 4-methylthioamphetamine (amphetamine derivative) A
  14. LSD A
  15. Methylphenidate(Ritalin) B
  16. Anabolic steroids C
  17. Gamma 4-hydroxybutyric acid (depressant, “date-rape drug”) C
  18. Ecstasy A
  19. Amyl Nitrate (nitrite inhalants, “poppers”) Legal
  20. Khat (plant-derived stimulant) Legal (illegal in USA)
Author Comments: 

The letter system is a reference to the UK class rating of the drug. I don't know why Crystal Meth isn't here, maybe they counted it as Amphetamines.


Well the medical name for Crystal Meth is "Methylamphetamine" which would suggest it is basically the same as the 13th one in the list which would make sense as this is classified as class A. In fact I would put it in third place below Heroin and Cocaine considering its short term effects can potentially be bad and its long term effects are very bad.Add to that it's very addictive, like Crack, Heroin, Tobacco addictive.

Interesting that nothing with Psilocin or Psilocybin appears in the list A.K.A Psilocybe Semilanceata or Amanita Muscaria (Magic Mushrooms). The risks of taking shrooms are fairly minor especially considering most only apply to those with a psychotic tendancy or are the risk of 'taking the wrong mushrooms'. In fact out of those I haven't tried (I've tried Alcohol and Tobacco in the form of cigarettes and shisha) Amanita Muscaria would be the one I'd most like to try.

I guess first and second place is a little debateable depending on what form the drugs are taken in (if Crack Cocaine it would probably place first).

I wouldn't have thought Poppers or Khat would have been in the top 20 but then considering I haven't taken either I guess I cant give an authoritative opinion...

Poppers can fuck you right up, but only if you do them enough, but for the risks the highs are worth it really, just in moderation. Khat isn't harmful at all to be honest, don't know why it's in here, probably got some psychosis side-affects for some people or something, it's a very mellow drug.
Heroin is easily the worst, Cocaine (And crack) are definitely very high, and much higher than no.3, but Heroin is in a league of its own, check out the facts on it and it is bad .
Magic Mushrooms do indeed look pretty appealing, though pretty hard to get hold of, as they're not a very common drug.

Magic mushrooms are very easy to get ahold of in Canada. I'm offered them all the time. You're right about their appeal: they're by far the best recreational drug. I've had some truly wonderful, life-changing experiences on them, far better than anything I've experienced on alcohol.

yes mushrooms are great. I've had the best times on them. They don't last as long as LSD, so you can actually sleep when they're done. I also find that I laughed my ass off when I took them. Not to mention, they go great with trance.

17... what people refer to as "ruffie?" believe it or not i just heard about it the other day...

roids have never been proven to be bad and not one person has ever died from taking it.

Steroids have been proved to be bad, they can mess up your heart, not to mention the fact they make your testicles shrink and in the long remove most of your testorone.

That's true, along with a whole pile of other side effects, such as increased violence and aggression (which IS clinically proven through many longitudinal studies that have determined causation). They're even more dangerous for women.

Indeed, steroids are a short term reward for LOOOOONG term losses, it's sad (and a little pathetic) when huge strong men turn into flabby fat guys with the hormones of a little girl (like Bob off Fight Club! :D) haha.

I'm surprised at some of those placements. For example, why isn't datura in the top 5 (let alone there at all)? 50% of non-alcohol drug related deaths are datura (aka jimsonweed).

Another surprise is in solvents being below cannabis...really? Solvents can rapid cause organ failure, marijuana can, at worst, cause amotivation syndrome and lung cancer with chronic use.

My personal favorite (psilocybin - aka magic mushrooms) didn't make the list :D :D :D I love that. Of course, psilocybin IS completely non-toxic, completely unaddictive, and has a number of very positive medical effects that a lot of people can benefit from (ie: treats depression, OCD, etc.). Why they're illegal is beyond me.

I was actually surprised at how low ecstacy is. I know it's danger is exagerrated, but I would think it would be at least above cannabis.

And where's oxycontin? That stuff is scary!

A flawed list from the BBC Horizon, but I think it does get it's point across well: current drug policy is idiotic. Ban from heroin to methadone, and legalize everything else.

Of those I've personally used, here's how I'd order them:
8.Salvia Divinorum

I'll re-post my drug explanations and ratings list at some point - I took it down because my girlfriend is doing police training (they can't know she is seeing someone who uses drugs recreationally while training...even though something like 90% of Canadian university students do). I took it down just in case they can trace it...although I suspect I was being paranoid.

Another surprise is in solvents being below cannabis...really? Solvents can rapid cause organ failure, marijuana can, at worst, cause amotivation syndrome and lung cancer with chronic use.

Cannabis has now proven links to schizophrenia, which is a terrible affliction to have, it can mess up your mind, especially strong weed, the skunk stuff that's going around the streets now. Solvents can be bad, yet I know people who do cannabis and its messed them up, but others who do solvents but are completely fine comparatively.
Magic Mushrooms do look like the best drug in the world tbh - tripping without ANY major risks does sound appealing, though they're hard to get hold of.
I agree with you about it being a bit flawed, but I think they were mainly trying to make a point rather than give a definitive list of the worst. They were all against how alcohol and tobacco is ruining the UK (and other countries) health and society.
I noticed you took your drugs list down, I was curious as to why but didn't ask as I thought it may have been Jim who didn't want it on listology, but no probs I look forward to seeing it once again after it's safe to put up again. And darktremor, the paranoia? That's the weed fuckin' with ya :P

A couple of points...

This list is pretty much worthless without an explanation on the risk of addiction and probability for overdose. Without details on which drug is more likely to kill you on the first dose?

Also, the strength of addiction and to what lengths a typical addict will go to finance their next fix. What about cost? How likely is an addict to sell their 10 year old daughter to a pimp or smash open the head of a senior citizen for a months supply of the drug. (Yes, it happens.)

Cannabis before LSD and tobacco before cannabis tells me "availability" has to be a factor in this list.

I saw the show. They didn't necessarily take the 20 most dangerous drugs, but "20 of the most widely used drugs" and ordered them. Also they classified them according to three criteria: Effects on the individual; addictiveness; effects on society. They did go into detail on some drugs about chances of overdose. Barbituates are only 3rd due to their high chance of a fatal overdose from them. Availability was not considered as a factor. By the way, there are 0 LSD caused deaths per year. The "people jumping out of windows" stories are largely myth ( I think possibly 1 or 2 did in the 60s) encouraged by the authorities.

They do actually take this into account in the programme, I just outlined the basic top 20 structure. I think they made this more to make a statement about the hypocrisy of a society which feels tobacco is ok to be legal while relatively harmless Amanita Muscaria should be illegal.

I don't think availability is a factor actually - cannabis is more dangerous in some ways than LSD, as LSD has far fewer cases of psychotic tendencies on its part than cannabis, it's just more trippy. It (much like ecstasy) was bigged up by the media and authorities as being a "terrible" drug but it's really not half as bad as people make out.

im guessing these drugs are arranged in order from most to least dangerous in terms of over-dosages, since i drink alcohol maybe a few times a month and I'm in perfect health; it's definitely not as addictive as methamphetamine which you could get up to life in jail for possession/distribution in Canada. Meth should be up there with coke and so should cigarettes. and cannabis being dangerous? please...they just say that to try and discourage people from using it since it's still illegal; as for anabolic steroids - there hasn't been any long-term studies done linking this hormone to death or even serious side-effects; it's all speculation; again, they try and scare people from using it because of its legality.

If that was the case then why would they put ecstacy, a class A drug, 18th? 1 in 4 people have a tendency (that's not to say it will happen) to develop schizophrenia due to cannabis use. I watched the show, they far from agreed with the drug classifications of all the drugs. Ecstacy and LSD they said were incorrectly classified, largely due to the authorities in the 1960s being scared of the use of drugs so they were classified with little research.

"1 in 4 people have a tendency to develop schizophrenia from it" is a meaningless statistic. It's not very clearly defined. Is that that 1/4 people who have ever used pot will get schizophrenia? (impossible, juding as 1% of all peopel are schizophrenic). Is that 1/4 of schizophrenics have smoked pot? (in that case, they're probably self-medicating or displaying their impulsive nature, as research shows) Is it that 1/4 schizophrenics are believed to be schizophrenic due to pot? Do 1/4 pot addicts become schizophrenic?

That statistic is completely meaningless, and whoever gave it to you was either trying manipulate you, or quoting someone who manipulated them (and so on), intentionally or not. Statistics need to be more clearly defined: if a scientific paper contained that statistic, no review board would accept it into a journal.

If you actually read my reply to darktremor you'd see that in my opinion this is a list mainly made to make a point that just because something is legal it doesn't mean it's safe. And anyway, I never said I agreed with this list, it's the BBC's.

the reverse is also true

Why is LSD dangerous? And its listed as Class A, so that means in the UK its considered to be one of the most dangerous drugs? I've never heard anything about LSD being dangerous, I think you can have a "bad trip" but thats about it.

Well it can mentally scar you for the rest of your life and you can have flashbacks at any time, so it isn't without risk. However, it's just a lot less hamrful than most of these.

As far as I understand you run the risk of being mentally scarred only if you have psychiatric/psychological disorders then you'll have a bad trip, otherwise if you're a normal, psychologically healthy person you don't run the risk. Correct me if I am wrong.

No I agree with you and I think you're right, but there can be conditions inherited genetically that have been lying dormant and can be brought to the surface by using drugs such as LSD. It's much better just to do 'Shrooms as they're really not harmful at all.

As for the mental scarring LSD, not really. If you use it in the wrong set and setting with the wrong people, you can be a little off-put and feel anxious for a while. PTSD from "bad trips" is not unheard of (though not confirmed either), but if it's real, it's EXTREMELY rare - much less than the risk of alcohol killing you.

Flashbacks are exagerrated by the DEA. They usually last no more than 10 seconds, and happen very infrequently (like once in 10 years). The only risk is a HPPD (halluciogen persisting perception disorder), in which there has been a slight shift in colours or something like that, for a period of months, but even that usually eventually fades, and is only detrimental in extremely rare cases.

By the way, even alcohol can bring out schizophrenia if it's present but asymptomatic.

I didn't know that thankyou, it's extremely hard to deduce an accurate unbiased source for quoting in discussions, especially on topics like drugs.

Try using Erowid ( It matches up well with things like scientific literature, and they have a policy of "responsible use," which I strongly agree with. (IE: they'll mention if something actually has a possibility of killing or seriously hurting you, free of political bias: IE: taking too much acetaminophen will kill you, smoking too much pot will not; shooting too much heroin will kill you (and just shooting it is a bad idea, period), eating mushrooms will not).

It's given me a nice list of things to try, and things to avoid. To try:
Mescaline (Peyote cactus)
DIPT [aka the music hallucinogen: I think anyone who knows me even a little would understand why I'm interested in this. I can imagine most listologists would probably be interested in this]

To not try: pretty much everything else.

This is a good idea for a checklist, actually...

You can definitely break down the list of drugs in categories working at an alcohol rehab in san francisco i see people coming in alcohol, cocaine and heroine mainly.

The king is on top :) don't try it

James Brown - King heroin

How the hell is Cannabis even on this list? No one has ever even died from Marijuana. It doesn't coause brain damage thats a myth,when they did the studdy they put gas masks that pumped marijuana smoke on monkeys,and that was equivalent to 100 joints per minute so the monkeys whould get brain damage from lack of oxygen and they posted those results. It does not cause cancer at all its used to treat cancer. The only damages it can do is know to actualy do is lung damage from smoke, and not even bad damages just minor damage, like shorten lung compasity.

I think all drugs have negative impact on health you have given a great list and we should never give them try. I recently took schizophrenia test and then i was dignosed and my doc prescribed some midcines but there was a simple note. If we use them there are side effects.