On the Individual
People who use drugs experience a wide array of physical effects other than those expected. The excitement of a cocaine effect, for instance, is followed by a “crash” : a period of anxiety, fatigue, depression, and an strong desire to use more cocaine to alleviate the feelings of the crash. Marijuana and alcohol interfere with motor control and are factors in many automobile accidents. Users of marijuana and hallucinogenic drugs may experience flashbacks, unwanted recurrences of the drug’s effects weeks or months after use. Abrupt abstinence from certain drugs result in withdrawal symptoms. For example, heroin effects cause vomiting, muscle cramps, convulsions, and delirium. With the continued use of a physically addictive drug, tolerance develops; i.e., constantly increasing amounts of the drug are needed to duplicate the initial effect. Because the purity and dosage of illegal drugs such as heroin are uncontrolled, Drug Overdose is a constant risk. There are over 10,000 deaths directly attributable to drug use in the United States every year; the substances most frequently involved are cocaine, heroin, and morphine, often combined with alcohol or other drugs. Many drug users engage in criminal activity, such as burglary and prostitution, to raise the money to buy drugs, and some drugs, especially alcohol, are associated with violent behavior.
Effects on families
Drug abuse not only affects you, but also your family. Addictions often create interpersonal problems for all family members.
- Jealousy: You can grow jealous of your friends, your partner, other family members and other people in your life. Your partner may also be jealous and resentful of you.
- Conflict with Partner: You may have arguments, get/give the “silent treatment” or grow apart by putting your addiction first.
- Conflict with Children: You may argue with your children and they may disregard your authority or be afraid of you.
- Conflict over Money: You may struggle economically because of losing your job, taking time off from your job, making poor financial choices or simply pouring your money into your addiction.
- Emotional Trauma: You may create emotional hardships for your partner and/or your children by yelling, talking down, insulting or manipulating.
- Violence: You may become violent or your family members may become violent with you, including slapping, hitting or smashing or throwing objects.
- Cheating: You may become distant from your partner and seek satisfaction through pornography, Internet sex, prostitution or someone else in your life who you feel “understands” you.
- Separation: Your behavior due to addiction may cause separation, divorce, and/or isolation from other family members, particularly children, either because they’ve been taken from you or because they don’t want to be around you.
- Patterns: Your life example will influence your partner, your children and other family members. There is a high likelihood that your children will become addicted to drugs or alcohol.
- Health Risks: Drinking while pregnant can cause fetal alcohol syndrome — damage to the baby’s brain. Smoking in the household can cause health problems for family members from secondhand smoke, including lung cancer. Being under the influence of drugs and alcohol will overall impair your judgment and can lead to neglect or harm.
Because drug addiction and alcoholism are diseases of the brain, which is the center of judgment and behavioral patterns, drug addicts and alcoholics have a disturbingly high propensity to commit unlawful and immoral acts to obtain these substances. Moreover, once under the influence of drugs and alcohol, the addict’s inhibitions are drastically lowered with a sense of indestructibility, which leads to aggressive and irresponsible behavior.
The major impact on drug-addicts is that they prone to commit crimes. They need money to finance their drug taking habit and for that they seldom have money, so they indulge themselves in petty crimes and in consequence they entangle themselves in big crimes also.
According to NIDA, drug and alcohol addiction has an economic impact on society of $67 billion per year. NIDA also states that getting treatment can reduce these costs as addiction treatment centers and programs help addicts to learn to live a sober life, freeing them from the behavioral problems associated with drug addiction and alcoholism. Drug and alcohol addiction-related costs include this social problems:
- Crimes and incarceration
- Drug addiction treatment
- Medical costs from overdoses
- Drug-related injuries and complications
- Time lost from work
- Social welfare programs.