In Health Magazine of November/December 1990 a panel of experts were asked to rate the addictiveness of commonly used drugs and substances, taking into consideration two key questions:

  • How easy is it become addicted these substances?
  • How hard is it to overcome the addiction?

The panel cited various individual traits that might affect the person’s vulnerability to substance addiction, including their physiology, psychology and social and economic pressures, but excluded those from the rankings, rating the substances only on the potential inherent in the drug.

I have added some data from more recent research into other drugs such Ritalin (used to combat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children) and SSRI (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor) anti-depressants, by the World Health Organisation and the Uppsala monitoring centre in Sweden – these items were not commonly prescribed in 1990, and therefore were not included original survey.

The list below is ranked from highest addictiveness level to lowest.

Very highly addictive (experts rated chance of addiction above 85%):

Highly addictive (experts rated chance of addiction between 75 and 84%):

Reasonably addictive (experts rated chance of addiction between 50 and 74%):

Not particularly addictive (experts rated chance of addiction below 25%):

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