Popularity and “Addictability” of Drugs Among U.S. Adults
Among drugs used by U.S. adults, alcohol ranks first, by far, in popularity and seventh in “addictability,” according to a nationwide survey of 43,000 adults.
More than 6 in 10 U .S. adults reported past-year use of alcohol and, of them, about 6 percent were dependent. Though far less addictive than some other drugs, alcohol’s popularity boosts the number of dependent users to 8 million per year, nearly five times the number of people dependent on all illicit drugs combined.
Tobacco is second in popularity and by far the most addictive drug, with nearly half of past-year users being dependent.
After tobacco, heroin is most addictive (27 percent of past-year users), followed by cocaine (24 percent) and amphetamines (14 percent).
Fewer than 1 in 10 past-year users were dependent on marijuana (8 percent); opiates; that is, prescription painkillers used without or beyond the bounds of a prescription (6.3 percent); alcohol (5.8 percent); sedatives (5.4 percent); tranquilizers (5 percent); hallucinogens (2.7 percent); or solvents/inhalants (1 percent).
The speed of entry into the brain varies by a drug’s chemistry and its route of administration, that is, whether it is smoked, sniffed, injected, or ingested.
Many other factors influence the development of addiction, and the full picture is not yet known.
Investigators are currently looking into mechanisms involving individual vulnerability, including genetics; drug properties, including effects on brain targets; and environmental variables such as availability.
Full reference at; Addictability of Drugs