The 3 Most Deadly Addictions

The 3 Most Deadly Addictions

Chances are you or someone that you know struggles with an addiction. Many people become addicted to drugs every year through prescription medicines, recreational drugs, and illegal street drugs.

It should come as no surprise that those who abuse drugs, usually do not plan on becoming addicts. In fact, that is usually the last thought on their mind. It is a depressing cycle that can become almost unbearable to deal with on a daily basis.

How Do Drugs Interact with the Brain?

Drugs interact with the brain by changing its regulation of “feel good” chemicals. This gives drug addicts a sense of euphoria that is otherwise not naturally occurring within the human brain. However, those “feel good” chemicals do not last for a long time. In most cases the high will only last for a few hours, and with more abuse, this becomes even shorter.

As a person continues to take drugs, their tolerance tends to build up causing them to need larger doses to satisfy themselves. If these people do not get their next fix, their bodies react by going into withdrawal and causing almost unbearable withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms are very unpleasant, and most people will do almost anything to avoid feeling them. Drug addiction can lead the best of people with the best intentions to do things they otherwise would have never have thought of.

Addiction Statistics in Virginia

Virginia has one of the highest death rates in the United States due to drug abuse. To put this into perspective of how serious the recent statistics have grown, there are more deaths in Virginia due to overdoses than there are from any other unnatural deaths in Virginia. Unnatural deaths refer to fatalities from accidents, suicides and homicides, or from unintentional injury.

The recent statistics for overdoses in Virginia have skyrocketed in the past decade. According to the Virginia Department of Health, “In the beginning of 2016 there was almost an 80% increase of fatalities due to opioid abuse.” Specifically, these statistics are rising due to the increased production of Fentanyl.

Multiple efforts have been made to instate education and prevention programs as well as rehabilitation. The state has passed an act called the needle exchange program. This is a service that lets the Virginia Department of Health provide clean equipment to injection drug users to help reduce the spread of HIV, Hepatitis C, and other common diseases that can be contracted by sharing needles.

The State of Virginia has made many efforts to try and decrease the spread of these illicit drugs and help users quit and rehabilitate. These efforts have been slightly helping but the fatality rate has still been increasing for the past decade. We can only hope the best for this situation to become better and fatality rates to decrease.

3 Most Deadly Addictions in Richmond, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia has a huge increase in potential death rates due to drug abuse. Most of these drugs are illegal drugs such as opioids, hallucinogens, and stimulants. The increase of these drugs is due to the fact that street dealers are finding cheaper ways to produce stronger highs with less substance. These drugs are highly dangerous as most abusers do not know the specific amounts they are getting in their drugs. Listed below are the top three drugs that have the highest addiction rates within Richmond;

  • Fentanyl – As of 2013, Fentanyl has become the deadliest drug in the city of Richmond. This drug was originally sold as a prescription to help manage pain, however, it soon became a popular additive for street dealers to mix with heroin to increase the high.
  • The issue with this is that most users do not realize they are even taking Fentanyl. This drug is usually mixed with heroin, and the dealers do not usually provide information on how much of the drug is within the heroin batches.
  • Due to no set standard for doses, Fentanyl can cause a person to have very unstable highs. If mixed incorrectly and used at too high of a dose, this drug can be fatal to the user.
  • Heroin – Heroin is also one of the biggest issues within Richmond. Heroin is the most popular choice for street drugs and, as mentioned, is usually always mixed with Fentanyl. This drug is made from poppy plants, and can be smoked, inhaled, or injected into the body.
    • These injections have caused an increase in the spread of Hepatitis C and HIV infections as a result of individuals sharing needles.
    • According to the Virginia Department of Health there has been an incline of heroin related deaths since 2010.
    • A majority of the time, Heroin is the main drug that causes fatalities. However, in other instances of fatalities, it is due to additional drugs being used along with Heroin.
  • Cocaine – Cocaine fatalities in Richmond has been steadily increasing since 2013. This drug is a stimulant drug and is usually snorted through the nose. While most cocaine users often fall victim to diluted doses, some end up accidentally taking high doses that can lead to death.
    • This drug is also a common killer because of its addictive properties which causes the user to crash if not taken on a regular basis.
    • Because cocaine is mostly diluted, abusers can sometimes be unaware of the doses they receive. This can be dangerous and in most cases, can lead to death if taken at an extremely potent dose.

These are only the top three most abused drugs in Richmond, Virginia. However, there are many other drugs that causes fatalities amongst users. Other addictions and fatalities are usually a combination of one of the three drugs listed above mixed with prescription drugs, alcohol, or another substance. The mixing of these drugs causes a higher rate of fatality amongst abusers which is why Richmond has one of the highest rate of fatalities compared to the rest of the United States.

For more recent statistics, check out the Virginia Department of Health Fatal Drug Overdose Report for 2016. They have the most recent statistics as of July 2016. Other statistics can be found on your local news websites or published studies.


Drug addiction and abuse are very serious subjects. The state of Virginia is doing its best to reduce these fatalities and get more abusers into rehabilitation centers. Drugs will always end with the need for higher doses and more withdrawals, thus causing individuals to risk putting their lives above their addiction. It is best to save the people you love and offer them compassionate addiction treatment before they reach that point.