Study: Top 10 Drugs Involved in Lethal Overdoses in the United States

By KM Diaz, | June 05, 2017

Alprazolam, known as Xanax, is a drug for anxiety and depression. (YouTube)

Alprazolam, known as Xanax, is a drug for anxiety and depression. (YouTube)

Drugs are meant to treat and prevent further serious medical conditions. However, some drugs can be harmful to the health, sometimes can cause death. According to a recent report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approximately 23 percent increase cases of people dying in the United States due to drug overdoses from 2010 to 2014.

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These top 10 drugs are considered to be the deadliest and involved in lethal overdoses.


Using heroin in the United States has drastically increased for both men and women, with same age groups, all income levels, and also said to be responsible for some of the lethal overdose cases, CDC reported.

The system of the person will be shut down during a heroin overdose, resulting in lethal respiratory depression, and will eventually lead to slowed or stopped the heartbeat. Heroin overdose is also possible to occur for those who used the drug for the first time.


Cocaine is a popular party drug, and it is also the second most popular drug that is involved in lethal overdoses. Those who are using the drug usually take it frequently in a short period, to higher doses to maintain their high. Cocaine overdose often affects the heart, in which heart rate and blood pressure rapidly increase.


Oxycodone is a type of opioid medication for pain management. This drug is highly addictive as users often have the urge to increase the dosage to maintain the same feeling, but as a result, overdose may happen. According to Mental Help, Oxycodone addiction is characterized by lethargic behavior, slow heart rate, with unusual breathing patterns.


Alprazolam, known as Xanax, is a drug for anxiety and depression. Alprazolam Overdose often leads to problems in the central nervous system such as drowsines and coma in severe cases, according to RxList. In addition, combining the drug with alcohol is potentially deadly.


Fentanyl is similar to morphine, a synthetic opioid, which is generally used in treating pain. Fentanyl overdose may lead to excessive drowsiness, low blood pressure, as well as slowed heart rate.


Morphine is considered to be the highly abused drug as it is commonly known to treat moderate to severe pain. Overdosing with Morphine could lead to labored breathing, or no breathing at all.


Methamphetamine, commonly called as crystal meth or meth, is a stimulant drug often abused because of euphoric effect. Meth overdose increased the heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, and can cause a heart attack.


Methadone helps heroin addicts with withdrawal symptoms. However, Methadone overdose could lead to muscle weakness, severe drowsiness, and slow heart rate and breathing.


Hydrocodone belongs to opioid pain medication. Overdosing with the drug may lead to weak pulse, low blood pressure, and trouble in breathing.


Diazepam is a drug used in treating muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, anxiety disorders and classified as a benzodiazepine. However, Diazepam overdose can cause unresponsiveness, confusion, dizziness, and drowsiness.

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