Which drugs are most unpredictable from a safety standpoint?
All drugs are dangerous from a safety standpoint when not taken according to instructions. Aspirin can cause ulcers and acetaminophen can cause liver damage if you take too much. It’s possible to become addicted and overdose on cough medicine that contains alcohol. It’s also fairly easy to predict what can happen and take steps to avoid these problems with over-the-counter drugs.
That being said, some of the most unpredictable drugs in terms of safety are the ones that get prescribed most often. We’ve all seen and heard the multiple precautions and possible side effects of common drugs for depression, erectile dysfunction, insomnia and osteoporosis, just to name a few. It’s nearly impossible to predict how a drug will affect each individual’s brain chemistry and physical health, and that’s why these warnings exist.
Antidepressants and insomnia drugs can also be unpredictable. Antidepressants can carry a risk of causing suicidal thoughts and actions, sometimes very suddenly. Why that happens is not really known, neither do we know exactly why teenagers and young adults are more susceptible to these thoughts when taking antidepressants. Anxiety and insomnia drugs such as Ambien will cause some people to binge eat, drive long distances and do other unlikely things in their sleep. If the person taking it has an undiagnosed heart condition, a sudden increase in blood flow can be dangerous, even fatal.
With all this in mind, the most unpredictable and least safe drugs available are street drugs. Heroin, methamphetamine, crack and cocaine lead the list for a number of reasons. None are regulated as they are manufactured illegally. This means that each dose may be significantly weaker or stronger than the one before making accidental overdose a huge and unpredictable risk. Heroin users often begin by snorting the drug, then advance to needles, which may or may not be clean or used only once. Dirty needles can cause or transmit many diseases, among them deadly hepatitis, blood poisoning and AIDS. Crack users must “cook” their drug, carrying the risk of fire along with what the drug does to the nervous system and vital organs. The deadly “speedball”, a mixture of heroin and cocaine has caused some very famous fires and has led to many less-known deaths and injuries.
Aside from the way street drugs are sourced and the way they are taken is the way they are manufactured. Methamphetamine, commonly known as “meth” is a concoction of chemicals and over-the-counter cold medicine, often cooked in home “labs” that are extremely dangerous. This toxic cocktail is cheap and can be made by the user, which is never a good idea. Altered “home cookers” can and have blown up houses, killed children in their homes and burned properties to the ground. The deadly effects of this toxic cocktail are well-known and very predictable, but its volatile nature and the way it is made makes it the most unpredictable drug currently known.
Again, there is no drug whose effect can be predicted with 100 percent accuracy. The best course is to avoid street drugs altogether, take prescription and over-the-counter exactly as prescribed and report any side effects to your doctor as soon as they arise.