Effects and consequences of drug abuse

Drug abuse affects the individual in many ways. It also affects the family, community, and nation in many ways. Let us look at the four ways below:


There are long-term and short-term effects of using drugs. The effects depend on the type of drug, how much, and how long it has been used. Short-term effects may include changes in heart rates, changes in appetite and behavior, overdose, and even death. Long-term effects may include lung cancer, mental illness, addiction, and death. The health of the family and friends of the user is also affected. The family also suffers from trauma, poor nutrition, violence, and heartbreak. Babies of drug users, in particular, have a higher chance of intellectual development later in their lives.


People who use drugs are often caught up in a network of other drug users. Addicted individuals get may become violent and out of order. Addicted individuals may lose their social connections (friends, family, and professions). Addiction also goes with stigma and discrimination which often discourages them from seeking help and treatment. Communities with a lot of drug activity miss out on business investments and opportunities for a better life, as investors and families tend to stay far from such communities.


Simply put, a user may spend all their resources acquiring drugs, getting treatment, and so on. Family suffers this way too. They may lose their jobs or not be able to get a well-paying job. Communities spend a lot of money on prevention programs, treatment, and rehabilitation programs. 

In the USA, it is estimated that drug abuse costs the country over $600 billion annually.


Research has proven that drug is linked to crime, for those who trade in them and those who consume them. First of all, it is a crime to use, possess, manufacture, or distribute drugs classified as having a potential for abuse. Beyond that, the short-term influence of drugs such as alcohol often gets people in trouble with the law, (traffic offenses, violence, etc). Drug users often are unable to keep a steady job and therefore get involved with theft and so on to fund their drug use. After a person serves time in jail, it can be difficult getting a job as employers tend not to hire people with criminal records.