NOV 17, 2017 12:31 PM PST

The World's Most Dangerous Drug May Surprise You

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

For as long as humankind have sought for curative drugs, we were bound to stumble upon some dangerous ones along the way, accidentally and on purpose.

Some drugs are so deadly they can kill an adult human within hours. For example, tetrodotoxin, the famed pufferfish toxin, can elicit mouth and speech paralysis in mere minutes. Seizures, convulsions, coma, and death follow in as little as 17 minutes or within 6 hours. Other drugs are are so dangerous they can kill with just the tiniest dose. It's estimated that a teaspoon of toxin from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum can kill more than 1 billion people. This earns the botulinum toxin as the most lethal poison known to mankind.

But some drugs are quite dangerous without being the most lethal. If we define most dangerous as being most harmful, the recreational drugs heroin and fentanyl would come out on top. Another definition of most harmful drug takes into account physical, psychological, social, and economic harm to the user as well as the community. By this definition, the most dangerous drug is found in every local bar and pub: alcohol. Watch the video to learn why alcohol is the most dangerous drug in the world.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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