The results of the latest Global Drug Survey (GDS) are in, and they’ve revealed the most dangerous substance in the world. According to the data published Wednesday, the most dangerous drug is methamphetamine/amphetamine, with synthetic cannabis and MDMA/ecstasy trailing close behind.
Danger, in this case, refers to the chances that a person will seek emergency medical treatment after taking a drug. The data from the 6,000 amphetamine/methamphetamine users that participated in this year’s study show that the chances that someone will seek medical treatment after using meth is even higher than for people who use synthetic cannabinoid drugs, which have been labeled the most dangerous for the past four years. According to the report, this is the first time that the GDS recorded users’ need for emergency medical treatment after using meth.
The data show that for every 100,000 meth users, 4.8 percent will seek emergency services. Breaking those numbers down showed that the risk of heading to the emergency room is more than double for women than it is for men (8.2 percent for females versus 3.7 percent for males). The rate of men who seek services after synthetic cannabis, for example, is 4.2 percent.
Meth’s intense effects are likely what’s driving its users to seek emergency services more often than users of any other drug. Its effects are both mental and physical, including elevated blood pressure, rapid heart beat or irregular heart rate, brain hemorrhages, convulsions, or even lung collapse due to changes in air pressure.
Long-term meth use results in even more damage, potentially causing a drastic decrease in weight; insomnia; kidney, heart, lung and liver failure; infection due to increased bodily sores; psychotic symptoms; and impaired cognitive functionality.
Still, even with these potential side effects, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that there are 24.7 million meth users worldwide. These users are probably drawn to the drug’s ability to induce wild hallucinations and keep a person alert and awake for hours on end.
Though using meth in a safe way is pretty much impossible, the GDS has a little advice for anyone taking a new drug for the first time: “Accept many drugs won’t be very good/effective or nice.” And, because this bears reminding, “Don’t drive/[bathe]/play with knives.”