Most dangerous drugs

Psychologist and addiction expert Michael Dennis, PhD discusses the most addictive drugs and how teenagers can get in dangerous situations or possibly overdose.
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Most dangerous drugs

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One of the questions people often ask is are all drugs equally dangerous or are some more dangerous than others? This is a tricky question to answer because there are drugs that have very small consequences in the short run, but long health consequences in the long run. Among these would be tobacco has very little short term effect, except for on mood regulation; but in the long run is one of the more dangerous drugs in terms of causing cancer and other health consequences. In the short run, two of the most dangerous ones are heroine and other opiods, then methamphetamine. Heroine and methamphetamines are dangerous because they are very, very strong. They are not produced under controlled situations. The purity of heroine has gone up dramatically as the shift of supplies from Afghanistan. The purity went almost up to 100 percent, versus 20 years ago, it was often cut one and ten with other ingredients. Now, it's much easier to overdose on it. If you are buying from different suppliers, they may not be cutting it the same way, so you don't even know how much you need and there is not good product labeling. Methamphetamine is typically made in a lab with an inexperienced chemist. That chemist may or may not do it the same way, from one batch to another or from one chemist to another. You are never really sure how much you are getting. You are not really sure how they made it. As a consequence of methamphetamine, which is a very hard drug, is very hard to predict and much more likely to lead to an overdose or other kinds of consequences. It is, again, one that is associated very much with a psychotic break. Use of methamphetamines in particular, if you have a history of psychosis or other emotional problems, is much more likely to make those problems worse.

Psychologist and addiction expert Michael Dennis, PhD discusses the most addictive drugs and how teenagers can get in dangerous situations or possibly overdose.

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Michael Dennis, PhD

Psychologist

Michael Dennis, PhD, is a senior research psychologist and Director of the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN) coordinating center at Chestnut Health Systems in Normal, Illinois. Over the past 25 years his primary area of research has been to better understand and manage addiction and recovery over the life course. This includes multiple clinical trials to compare the effectiveness of adolescent treatment approaches and recovery support services, longitudinal studies with adolescents, adults and older adults to understand the predictors of entering and sustaining recovery, and creating the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN) coordinating center for teaching evidenced based assessment to support clinical decision making at the individual level and program evaluation. He has multiple awards for moving the field from science to practice, promoting diversity through practice based evidence and bringing more people into the field.

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