The 7 Most Addictive Substances You Can Buy Legally

cough syrup addiction drinking

When we think of “drug addiction” we often think of deals being made in the shadows of back alleys or under the spotlight of corner streetlights. Exchanges of cash for small plastic bags define addiction. Most addictions today are legal and being purchased through doctors, pharmacies, and grocery stores.


  • Nicotine: It doesn’t take much to become hooked to smoking cigarettes or other nicotine containing substances. Nicotine can cause a sense of relaxation, reduce anxiety, and even curb hunger. People get hooked on cigarettes for the way it makes them feel. Cigarette smoking also becomes a habit and habits are hard to break. Cigarettes and other smoking substances can be lethal. Lung cancer, emphysema, and other disease are common due to nicotine and the carcinogens which come from smoking. People have a hard time quitting cigarettes because of the withdrawal symptoms including physical cravings.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol isn’t often referred to as a drug, but it certainly is one. People differentiate alcoholism from addiction but many others just refer to alcoholism as an alcohol addiction. Alcohol isn’t addicting to everyone who consumes it, even if they consume it in high quantities. However, almost anyone can develop alcoholism.
  • Opioids: There’s no denying the addictability of opioid medications. There’s an international epidemic going on because of how addictive these pills can be. Morphine, vicodin, oxycontin, hydrocodone, codeine, and other drugs like fentanyl are all opioids. Each of these medications are prescribed on a daily basis for pain.
  • Cough Syrup/ Cold Medication: Over the counter cold medications contain an active ingredient called DXM, dextromethorphan, is a dissociative psychoactive ingredient. Taken in high quantities, these medications can become addicting. They are abused for their dissociative properties and ability to cause hallucinations.
  • Benzodiazepines: Valium, Xanax, and Lorazepam are all popular benzodiazepines prescribed for anxiety. These medications weren’t meant to be addictive and were always prescribed with the assurance that they were non-habit forming. However, many found they experienced symptoms of withdrawal without even their normal dose. In abusive situations, the drug can become highly addictive.
  • ADHD Medication: Most ADHD medications like Adderall and Ritalin are stimulant amphetamine drugs, not much different from cocaine or crystal meth. Though the drugs aren’t meant to be abused, they often are by students and working professionals. Becoming addicted to the stimulant behavior caused by the drugs traps people in a cycle of exhaustion and need for more drugs.
  • Ambien: The warning labels on the popular sleep medication should be heeded more carefully. Combining alcohol with Ambien can be deadly. Taking ambien in high doses can create a hallucinatory dream state in which people black out and can commit crimes or get themselves hurt.



Aurora Recovery Center offers 24/7 medical detox and supervised detox programs from our residential treatment center. Along with inpatient treatment and other treatment levels within our continuum of care, Aurora Recovery Center helps a member transition through each phase of recovery. For more information, call 844-515-STOP.

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