This Is The Most Powerful Drug Used By Mankind

When we ask what the most powerful drug in the world is, we have to take into consideration a few things. What do we mean by "powerful"? Do we mean addictive? Euphoric? Effective, dangerous, or widespread? As Cliffs Notes reminds us, the British novelist Rudyard Kipling famously told the Royal College of Surgeons, "Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." No doubt words have extreme powers of persuasion and the ability to incite people to do great, impressive, terrible, and tragic things, but they aren't really a drug, per se. Kipling's metaphor suits the writers among us, but the surgeons in his audience no doubt had other science-based ideas about the world's most powerful drug.

The Independent reports that the most deadly drug in the world is a type of heroin that has had devastating effects in Russia. More than 1 million people in the country are said to be addicted to the krokodil, which causes gangrene that turns into rotten, scaly flesh, resembling reptilian scales, hence the name. Most often homemade, krokodil's ingredients include things like painkillers, cleaning chemicals, lighter fluid, and other substances with skulls and crossbones on the bottles that were never meant for intravenous application. However, according to Stat, the synthetic heroin known as fentanyl is far deadlier than heroin, as it can be as much as 100 times more potent than morphine and ten times more potent than heroin.

Some of the deadliest drugs used by mankind are the most socially acceptable

While drugs with scary names like krokodil and sordid reputations like those of heroin and cocaine strike fear in the hearts of those hoping to keep their kids safe from substance abuse, the reality is that some of the deadliest substances known to man can be bought at just about any convenience store. According to Addiction Center, alcohol is still the deadliest drug on the market today. Statistics show that it causes more deaths than all other drugs combined. The center cited a 2010 study, reported by Reuters, that found alcohol to be more harmful to users than other deadly street drugs like heroin and crack cocaine. The study took a wholistic approach to alcohol's harmful impact, taking in the drug's combined effects on users' physical health as well as its detrimental effects on the lives of others in society.

Then there is, of course, tobacco, which kills almost half a million Americans each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reports that smoking "remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States." By comparison, another smokable drug that has long been demonized and illegal — marijuana — has been shown to be among the least harmful drugs on the market. A 2015 study published in Scientific Reports and posted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information classified alcohol and tobacco as "high risk" and cannabis as a "low risk" drug.

The most popular psychoactive drug used by mankind may surprise you

Super potent and highly addictive drugs like opioids and amphetamines probably come to mind when you think of the most widely used psychoactive drug in the world. However, you might be surprised to find out that it's actually one considered to be much less harmful, one you probably have in your kitchen. You may even be on it right now. According to National Geographic, caffeine is "the world's most popular mood-altering drug." Now wait, before you go thinking we're calling you a drug addict for stopping by Starbucks on the way to work, hear us out.

Caffeine is in coffee, tea, and most soft drinks, of course, but it's also found in everything from chocolate bars to diet pills to headache medicine. You'll find caffeine-infused gum, candies, ice cream, cereal, pudding — it's even in decaf coffee! — according to Sleep.org. Many of those things are products we regularly give to children, and as that Nat Geo report states, the majority of babies born in developed countries come into this world already knowing what a caffeine buzz feels like. However, unlike krokodil, fentanyl, and crack, caffeine has actually been shown to have health benefits, like pain relief, elevated mood, increased cognition, and more. It's even been found to help people with asthma. So there, you don't have to feel guilty for ordering that Frappuccino. Well, the sugar in it is another story, but we'll let that one slide for now.