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Drug Addiction and Society

Drug Addiction
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59Share Drug addiction continues to be a major concern for society, and the concern grows with every passing year. As drug and alcohol addiction ruin lives of those most closely affected, but society at large suffers from addiction's rippling effects. The following article explains the effects of drug addiction on individuals, families, neighborhoods, and society overall. Drug addiction's debilitating effects range from financial, to functional, to emotional and should by no means be taken lightly.

Drug Addiction and Society
Drug addiction and alcoholism are diseases that damage addicts, their families, communities, the economy, and society. Drug addiction has a dreadfully widespread reach: from dealing with unpredictable and often dangerous addicts at home to the staggering expenses incurred by individuals and societies as a whole. With the population of addicts rising and younger average age of addicts, society’s is grappling with a grave matter. Drug addiction is no longer limited to the poor and underprivileged; society can no longer choose to look away. Nowadays, drug addiction is much discussed thanks to legally prescribed and over-thecounter medications being administered to society’s brightest, richest, and most respected icons. These drugs, however, show up on the nightlife scene, on school campuses, and at PTA meetings and soccer games — picked from the medicine cabinet at home, not dealt a street corner. The legality and acceptability of these drugs have turned their abuse into a devastating epidemic, not to mention the millions of people already addicted to alcohol and other illegal drugs like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines. According to the National Library of Medicine, an estimated 20% of Americans have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons.(1) NLM also attributes the rise of prescription drug abuse to doctors overly prescribing these medications and online pharmacies as culprits. This kind of drug addiction is a major contributor to the rising costs of emergency department admissions from overdoses and complications: The Drug Abuse Warning Network recently reported that benzodiazepines (Alprazolam, Lorazepam, Clonazepam, and Diazepam) and pain killers (Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, and Morphine) are the two most frequently reported prescription medications in ER cases.(2) When these statistics are added to those of the already staggeringly high numbers from heroin, cocaine, and

methamphetamine abuse in society, we are faced with overwhelming facts that only begin to illustrate the power of addiction.

Why is Drug Addiction So Devastating?
Drug and alcohol addiction is a progressive and insidious disease that creeps up on individuals; unfortunately most addicts don’t recognize the problem until addiction has completely taken over. The signs are so subtle and easily overlooked that millions of people today are struggling with addictions and don’t even realize that they are on a dangerously slippery slope. An addict is not only “that other guy” who’s lost everything in his life because of addiction.
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Addicts are also the people who have a drink everyday, even though they never get drunk. Addicts are people who use drugs everyday but still manage to work and carry on with their lives, maintaining a “nice buzz.” Addicts are not only those who use cocaine everyday, but also those who vacillate between cocaine, pills, ecstasy, tranquilizers, marijuana, alcohol, and any other drug.

Addiction is a very clever brain disease that convinces addicts that they need drugs and alcohol to function, despite negative consequences. Addiction is a disease that turns the human brain into a dangerous killer, constantly giving excuses and justification for drug and alcohol abuse. For this reason, addiction is one of the most devastating diseases plaguing our society. Addicts can’t see it until they’ve lost control, and even then, addiction continues to drive the destructive behavior associated with the disease. Despite trips to the emergency department for alcohol poisoning, complications from multiple drug interactions, drug overdoses, and drug and alcohol related-accidents, addicts will continue their abuse because while they remain unaware addiction has already taken hold. In many social circles, drug and alcohol abuse are not only acceptable, but encouraged, giving addiction a huge window of opportunity. It's impossible to know when recreational drug and alcohol use will become an addiction, since its onset is not immediate. The progression of addiction in itself is subtle and grows with each individual’s tolerance and continued use of one or multiple substances. Although many who use drugs and alcohol recreationally do not become addicts, millions more do, and a large majority of those people never see it coming. With the socially acceptable nature of alcohol and many drugs in our society, the availability and abuse of these substances has grown to alarming rates. From prescriptions for almost any real or made-up condition to club drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, GHB, and Katamine, drugs have become a permanent fixture in our world. The more an unsuspecting addict gets away with drug and alcohol abuse, the more indestructible they feel, thinking they will never be caught or get a DUI. These things never happen to anyone – until they happen. The Bureau of Justice reports an estimated 1,841,200 drug-related arrests for adults 18 years and older in 2007, up from 1,008,300 in 1990.(3) These numbers have been on a steady incline since 1970 and will more than likely

There is evidence to suggest that drug treatment programs can help reduce the spread of this and other blood-borne infections through successful rehabilitation for addicts to abstain from drug use. financial hardships. drug abuse is now the single-largest factor in the spread of HIV in the United States. our society remains disturbingly more focused on the temporary enjoyment of drug and alcohol abuse rather than the permanently devastating depression and damage caused by drug and alcohol addiction. because the drug impairs a person's judgment. once under the influence of drugs and alcohol. through the sharing of needles and other drug paraphernalia. riddled with disparity. which is the center of judgment and behavioral patterns. drug and alcohol addiction has an economic impact on society of $67 billion per year. undetectable by its victims until life is completely out of control. drug addicts and alcoholics have a disturbingly high propensity to commit unlawful and immoral acts to obtain these substances. With such devastating consequences. arrests. However. Drug and alcohol addiction-related costs include: • • • • • • Crimes and incarceration Drug addiction treatment Medical costs from overdoses Drug-related injuries and complications Time lost from work Social welfare programs. Moreover. a 2. thus reducing reckless behavior leading to the spread of HIV/AIDS. there were 17. This can cause people to make bad decisions and participate in dangerous sexual activities with an infected individual. The Impact of Drug Addiction on Society According to NIDA. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Addiction is a very serious problem and the most disturbing of all facts associated with addiction is that the disease is subtly progressive and more often than not.000+ AIDS diagnoses were due to the use of injecting drugs. despite the vast amounts of information available about addiction and the dangers therein. .941 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 2006. it would seem logical to not take the risk for addiction in the first place. Because drug addiction and alcoholism are diseases of the brain. which leads to aggressive and irresponsible behavior. According to the NIDA. freeing them from the behavioral problems associated with drug addiction and alcoholism.(4) Drug addiction is also one of the fastest ways to spread the HIV virus.continue to do so with the wide availability of both legal and illegal drugs. NIDA states that from 1998 to 2003. 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. It is also spread through just using drugs. an estimated 240. the addict’s inhibitions are drastically lowered with a sense of indestructibility. instability — a deep dark hole with a hard climb ahead.4% increase from 2005.

For example. With informative websites like Treatment Centers and others. this information cannot even begin to scratch the surface of the devastation and hopelessness felt by addicts and their families on a daily bases. HIV caused greater neuronal injury and cognitive impairment in drug users than in nondrug users. The emotions of failure. the effects go far beyond numbers and statistics. Other Helpful Resources: Alcoholics Victorious The Impact of Alcohol Abuse on Society American Council for Drug Education The American Council for Drug Education is a substance-abuse prevention and education agency that develops programs and materials based on the most current scientific research on drug use and its impact on society. any drug and alcohol use can put people at risk for HIV by interfering with their judgment. especially in the brain. HIV transmission can occur by sharing needles and other injection paraphernalia. Drug abuse and addiction can also worsen the progression of HIV and its consequences. anger. disparity. But most will tell you that until you go through it. animal studies have shown that stimulants can increase HIV viral replication. there is no way to fully encompass the true effects of drug addiction and alcoholism. In fact. depression. One in four of those living with HIV in 2009 reported use of alcohol or drugs at a level that warranted treatment. or watch a loved one go through it. millions of people struggle with addiction and millions more watch with feelings of hopelessness. we do all we can to educate the public on addiction. How Are HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse Linked? Drug abuse and addiction have been inextricably linked with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the pandemic. leading to risky sexual behaviors: • • According to combined data from 2005 to 2009. 64 percent of those living with HIV/AIDS had used an illicit drug. Every day. . only 19 percent had never used an illicit drug.Although many organizations have amassed countless survey results and miles of pages of data relating to the effects of drug addiction and alcoholism on society. When a family is struck with addiction. as addiction coldly and systematically destroys lives. and in a human study. about one-fourth of AIDS cases in the United States have resulted from injection drug use. but not intravenously. However. confusion. and sheer terror that addiction inflicts on its victims and their families is not something any statistic can accurately describe.

ED visits (sometimes involving death). .Impact on Health and Health Care Systems Drug use and abuse may lead to specialized treatment. contraction of illnesses. and prolonged hospital stays.

marijuana. the most commonly reported substances are cocaine. and cocaine. 11. The number of individuals reporting past year marijuana abuse or dependence was 4. nontransport accidents (e.000 persons ranged from less than one in several jurisdictions (including Chicago. According to SAMHSA. compared with 3. In 2007. When drug misuse or abuse plays a role in these ED visits. accidental drownings). to 26. 24.2 million in 2008. the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) reported that of 113 million hospital ED visits--1.1 deaths per 100. the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports other nonnatural death rates as follows: Motor vehicle accidents. To put these statistics in perspective.2 per 100.000 persons related to drug use. In 2007. 6.000 in the New Orleans area. compared with 6.8 million admissions to statelicensed treatment facilities for illicit drug dependence or abuse. an estimated 2. intensive outpatient.4 per 100. 15.1 per 100. and stimulants (13%). Dallas-Fort Worth. An estimated 31 percent of these visits involved illicit drugs only. there were approximately 1. The Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) provides information regarding the demographics and substance abuse patterns of treatment admissions to state-licensed treatment facilities for drug dependence. NSDUH estimated that 7 million individuals aged 12 and older were dependent on or had abused illicit drugs in the past year.1 million American children (3%) lived with at least one parent who was dependent on or abused illicit drugs. The highest percentage of admissions reported opiates as the primary drug of choice (31%. and 1 in 10 children under 18 lived with a substance-addicted or substance-abusing . In 2006. DAWN also records the number of drug-related suicide deaths.000 in Fargo. North Dakota. and the number of individuals reporting past year cocaine abuse or dependence was 1.1 per 100.5 Rates of drug-related deaths range from 1. the number of individuals reporting past year prescription pain reliever abuse or dependence was 1. more than half of the admissions were to ambulatory (outpatient. (See Table B2 in Appendix B for data on admissions for specific drugs. and stimulants (typically amphetamines or methamphetamine). the number of drug-related suicides per 100.887 (1. and 13 percent involved illicit drugs in combination with alcohol. South Dakota..2 per 100.742. combined data from 2002 to 2007 indicate that during the prior year. and Minneapolis) to 6.9 million in 2007.4 million in 2008. The drugs with the highest dependence or abuse levels were marijuana.000. 28 percent involved CPDs.000 in Sioux Falls.9 million in 2007.000.1 per 100. The consequences of drug use usually are not limited to the user and often extend to the user's family and the greater community. and homicides.1 per 100.000. Many individuals who become dependent on illicit drugs eventually seek treatment. and detox) facilities rather than residential facilities.) Individuals often experience adverse reactions to drugs--including nonfatal overdoses--that require them to go to the hospital. compared with 1.7 million in both 2007 and 2008. heroin. Although approaches to treatment vary by drug.5%)--were related to drug misuse or drug abuse.000.g. falls.6 million in 2007. prescription pain relievers. cocaine (22%). primarily heroin) followed by marijuana/hashish (27%). A 2007 DAWN survey of 63 metropolitan areas found an average of 12.In 2008. suicide.

and abuse.6 Moreover. and federal levels. the U. Puerto Rico. In 2009. are subject to frequent urinalyses. Oregon. and physical health hazards such as toxic chemicals. These statistics do not include children killed by random gunfire associated with drug activity or who were physically or sexually abused by a "caretaker" involved in drug trafficking or under the influence of drugs. For instance. To Top To Contents Impact on Crime and Criminal Justice Systems The consequences of illicit drug use impact the entire criminal justice system. Although drug courts and diversion programs in many jurisdictions have helped to alleviate this burden (see text box). A study of the drug court in Portland. Once the offender successfully completes treatment. trafficking. incarceration.S. Since the first drug court became operational in Miami in 1989. drug courts have gained approval at the local. Research has shown that drug courts are associated with reduced recidivism by participants and result in cost savings. Department of Health and Human Services estimated in 1999 that substance abuse was a factor in two-thirds of all foster care placements. there were 2. Typically associated with methamphetamine production. charges may be dropped. including 8 who were injured and 2 who were killed at the laboratories. and experience strict judicial monitoring in lieu of traditional incarceration. the number of drug courts has grown each year. and Indian Country. most jurisdictions have developed drug courts or other diversion programs aimed at breaking the drug addiction and crime cycle. coordinated approaches to processing drug cases. Drug Courts To alleviate the burden that drug use and abuse have caused to the nation's criminal justice system. state. participants receive a full continuum of treatment services. drug-endangered children are exposed not only to abuse and neglect but also to fires. Northern Mariana Islands. . taxing resources at each stage of the arrest.parent. Many states have enacted drug-endangered children laws to protect children from the consequences of drug production.038 active drug court programs and 226 in the planning stages. With success stories abundant. found that the program reduced crime by 30 percent over 5 years and saved the county more than $79 million over 10 years. As of July 2009. and post-release supervision process. substance abuse within the criminal justice population remains widespread. a 2006 study of nine California drug courts showed that drug court graduates had recidivism rates of 17 percent. explosions. adjudication. while a comparison group who did not participate in drug court had recidivism rates of 41 percent. 980 children were reported to the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) as present at or affected by methamphetamine laboratories. In these nonadversarial. and such courts now exist in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia.

26. Approximately 4 percent of all homicides in 2008 were drug-related. Productivity losses in this area alone are enormous. In 2008. only 7. marijuana. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). There is a great loss of productivity associated with drug-related premature mortality. In 2002. Other data reflect the link as well. According to TEDS data. To Top To Contents Impact on Productivity Premature mortality. a similar BJS self-report survey identified the drug-crime link more precisely: 17 percent of state prisoners and 18 percent of federal prisoners had committed their most recent offense to acquire money to buy drugs. The proportion of total drug arrests has increased over the past 20 years: in 1987.858 deaths were unintentional or undetermined-intent poisonings. down slightly from 69. Moreover. including cocaine. 95 percent of these poisonings were caused by drugs. An individual who enters a residential drug treatment program or is admitted to a hospital for drug treatment becomes incapacitated and is removed from the labor force. Public financial resources expended in the areas of health care and criminal justice as a result of illegal drug trafficking and use are resources that would otherwise be available for other policy initiatives. a BJS survey found that 68 percent of jail inmates were dependent on or abusing drugs and alcohol and that 55 percent had used illicit drugs during the month before their offense. The drug-crime link is also reflected in arrestee data. and imprisonment all serve to directly reduce national productivity.2 percent in 2007. 27 percent of individuals on probation and 37 percent of individuals on parole at the end of 2007 had committed a drug offense. in 2004. the most common arrest crime category. injury leading to incapacitation. Property and drug offenders were more likely than violent and public-order offenders to commit crimes for drug money. methamphetamine. In 2004. 20 percent of state prisoners and 53 percent of federal prisoners are incarcerated because of a drug offense.6 percent. There are also health-related productivity losses. a percentage that has not changed significantly over the same 20-year period.2 percent of more than 14 million arrests in 2008 were for drug violations. Although it is difficult to place a dollar value on a human life. and phencyclidine (PCP). The characteristics of populations under correctional supervision reflect these arrest patterns. Health- .The most recent annual data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) show that 12. opioids.4 percent of all arrests were for drug violations. a rough calculation of lost productivity can be made based on the present discounted value of a person's lifetime earnings. there were approximately 1. was 67. the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) II program found that the median percentage of male arrestees who tested positive in the 10 ADAM II cities for any of 10 drugs.8 million admissions to state-licensed treatment facilities for illicit drug dependence or abuse in 2007. In 2005. illness.

Additionally. To Top To Contents Impact on the Environment The environmental impact of illicit drugs is largely the result of outdoor cannabis cultivation and methamphetamine production. According to the 2008 NSDUH. cultivators often dam streams and redirect the water through plastic gravity-fed irrigation tubing to supply water to individual plants. approximately 8 percent of individuals employed full time and 10. Based on population estimates from the same study. the California Department of Toxic Substance Control responded to and cleaned up 232 laboratories and dumpsites at a cost of $776. Outdoor cannabis cultivation.2 percent of individuals employed part-time were current users of illicit drugs. Currently. and divert natural water courses. and the improper storage. The cost of their incarceration therefore has two components: keeping them behind bars and the results of their nonproductivity while they are there. particularly on public lands. there is productivity lost to drug-related unemployment and drug-related absenteeism. For example. forests. In addition. this translates into approximately 1.349 per site. Many of the chemicals used to produce methamphetamine are flammable. or approximately $3. Further. from January through December 10. use.related productivity losses are higher still when lost productivity associated with drugrelated hospital admissions (including victims of drug-related crimes) is included. discard garbage and nonbiodegradable materials at deserted sites. However.8 million unemployed individuals who were current drug abusers. clearcut native vegetation. and sewer systems. The high demand for water often strains small streams and damages downstream vegetation that depend on consistent water flow. causing extensive environmental damage. there are no conclusive estimates regarding the nationwide cost of methamphetamine production site remediation because many of the methamphetamine laboratories and dumpsites in the United States are undiscovered due to their clandestine locations. Individuals who are employed but have chronic absenteeism resulting from illicit drug use also accrue substantial lost productivity.889. 2009. create wildfire hazards. 19. Grow site operators often contaminate and alter watersheds. in California alone.6 percent of unemployed adults may be defined as current users of illicit drugs. law enforcement officials are increasingly encountering dumpsites of highly toxic insecticides. is causing increasing environmental damage. The approximately one-quarter of offenders in state and local correctional facilities and the more than half of offenders in federal facilities incarcerated on drug-related charges represent an estimated 620.000 individuals who are not in the workforce. streams. Finally. the process used to produce methamphetamine results in toxic chemicals--between 5 and 7 pounds of waste per pound of methamphetamine--that are typically discarded improperly in fields. and disposal of such chemicals that are typical among methamphetamine producers often lead to fires and explosions at clandestine laboratories. .

and according to the Environmental Protection Agency. These toxic chemicals enter and contaminate ground water. purchased by Mexican criminal groups.chemical repellants. and poisons that are produced in Mexico. Limited research on the environmental impact of the improper disposal of pharmaceuticals7 indicates that contamination from dissolved pharmaceutical drugs is present in extremely low levels in most of the nation's water supply. They also terrace the land-especially in mountainous areas--which results in rapid erosion. pollute watersheds. which allows nonnative plants to supplant native ones. Nonetheless. growers commonly clear the forest understory. scientists have found no evidence of adverse human health effects from the minute residue found in water supplies. adversely affecting the ecosystem. InfoFacts: Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction . and eventually enter residential water supplies. the ONDCP and the Food and Drug Administration suggest that consumers use take-back programs to dispose of unused prescription drugs (see text box in Vulnerabilities section). as a precaution based on environmental research to date. The harm to aquatic life and the environment has not been determined. Moreover. kill fish and other wildlife. the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) reports that while preparing land for cannabis cultivation. and transported into the country for use at their cannabis grow sites.

Through scientific advances. including productivity and health. even for those who are ready to do so.More InfoFacts Health Effects of Specific Drugs Effects of Drug Abuse Survey Data Prevention and Treatment NIDA Information NIDA Publications • • • • • • • • By Audience By Drug of Abuse By Drug Topic By Series By Type Featured Publications All Publications All eBooks Revised March 2011 Many people do not understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs.3 As staggering as these numbers are. because drugs change the brain in ways that foster compulsive drug abuse. and we also know that drug addiction can be successfully treated to help people stop abusing drugs and lead productive lives. Estimates of the total overall costs of substance abuse in the United States. quitting is difficult. we know more about how drugs work in the brain than ever. This includes approximately $181 billion for illicit drugs. In reality. . exceed $600 billion annually.2 and $235 billion for alcohol.and crime-related costs.1 $193 billion for tobacco. drug addiction is a complex disease. It can be wrongfully assumed that drug abusers lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop using drugs simply by choosing to change their behavior. they do not fully describe the breadth of destructive public health and safety implications of drug abuse and addiction. and quitting takes more than good intentions. In fact. Drug abuse and addiction have negative consequences for individuals and for society.

the brain changes that occur over time challenge a person’s self control and ability to resist intense impulses urging them to take drugs. motivation. psychiatric. Research shows that combining addiction treatment medications with behavioral therapy is the best way to ensure success for most patients.). What Is Drug Addiction? Addiction is a chronic. a neurotransmitter present in brain regions that control movement. asthma. failure in school. does not signal treatment failure—rather. There are at least two ways that drugs cause this disruption: (1) by imitating the brain’s natural chemical messengers and (2) by overstimulating the “reward circuit” of the brain. domestic violence. can cause the nerve cells to release abnormally large amounts of natural neurotransmitters (mainly dopamine) or to prevent the normal recycling of these brain chemicals.such as family disintegration. adjusted. Fortunately. spending time with loved ones. marijuana and heroin) have a similar structure to chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. The result is a brain awash in dopamine. receive. Some drugs (e. drug addiction can be managed successfully. The overstimulation of this reward system. or heart disease. which normally responds to natural behaviors linked to survival (eating. What Happens to Your Brain When You Take Drugs? Drugs contain chemicals that tap into the brain’s communication system and disrupt the way nerve cells normally send.. . produces euphoric effects in response to psychoactive drugs. This reaction sets in motion a reinforcing pattern that “teaches” people to repeat the rewarding behavior of abusing drugs. treatments are available to help people counter addiction’s powerful disruptive effects. and child abuse. Other drugs. such as diabetes. and social problems can lead to sustained recovery and a life without drug abuse. and feelings of pleasure. And as with other chronic diseases. despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around him or her. Treatment approaches that are tailored to each patient’s drug abuse patterns and any co-occurring medical. loss of employment. which are naturally produced by the brain. Although the initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people. which is needed to shut off the signaling between neurons. or that an alternative treatment is needed to help the individual regain control and recover. it is not uncommon for a person to relapse and begin abusing drugs again. Similar to other chronic. however. relapsing diseases. often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use. emotion. This similarity allows the drugs to “fool” the brain’s receptors and activate nerve cells to send abnormal messages. Relapse. it indicates that treatment should be reinstated.g. such as cocaine or methamphetamine. etc. and process information.

which reduces the abuser’s ability to enjoy the drugs. which can impair cognitive function. stress. A person’s environment includes many different influences. Why Do Some People Become Addicted While Others Do Not? No single factor can predict whether a person will become addicted to drugs. including trying drugs of abuse. Long-term abuse causes changes in other brain chemical systems and circuits as well. from family and friends to socioeconomic status and quality of life in general. the more likely it will progress to more serious abuse. decisionmaking. learning and memory. Brain imaging studies of drug-addicted individuals show changes in areas of the brain that are critical to judgment. and quality of parenting can greatly influence the occurrence of drug abuse and the escalation to addiction in a person’s life. Additionally. and the presence of other mental disorders may influence risk for drug abuse and addiction. these changes can drive an abuser to seek out and take drugs compulsively despite adverse. Factors such as peer pressure. the brain attempts to compensate. the earlier that drug use begins. judgment. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter that influences the reward circuit and the ability to learn. Genetic and environmental factors interact with critical developmental stages in a person’s life to affect addiction vulnerability.As a person continues to abuse drugs. Because their brains are still developing in the areas that govern decision-making. The more risk factors an individual has. Development. as well as the events in life that previously brought pleasure. Environment. physical and sexual abuse. This decrease compels the addicted person to keep abusing drugs in an attempt to bring the dopamine function back to normal. the brain adapts to the overwhelming surges in dopamine by producing less dopamine or by reducing the number of dopamine receptors in the reward circuit. adolescents may be especially prone to risk-taking behaviors. social environment. For example: • • • Biology. The genes that people are born with––in combination with environmental influences––account for about half of their addiction vulnerability. and age or stage of development. Risk for addiction is influenced by a combination of factors that include individual biology. When the optimal concentration of glutamate is altered by drug abuse. and self-control. even devastating consequences—that is the nature of addiction. ethnicity. except now larger amounts of the drug are required to achieve the same dopamine high—an effect known as tolerance. Although taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction. which poses a special challenge to adolescents. gender. Prevention Is the Key . Together. The result is a lessening of dopamine’s impact on the reward circuit. and behavior control. the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction.

they reduce their drug taking. Although many events and cultural factors affect drug abuse trends.Drug addiction is a preventable disease. Thus. medical and public health professionals must keep sending the message that drug addiction can be prevented if one never abuses drugs. Results from NIDA-funded research have shown that prevention programs involving families. GOOD . and the media are effective in reducing drug abuse. schools. Teachers. when youths perceive drug abuse as harmful. communities. parents. education and outreach are key in helping youth and the general public understand the risks of drug abuse.

• • • Drug abuse is caused when a person indulges in excessive consumption of drugs or chemical substances. for instance. to escape from problems in life.Effects of Drug Addiction Drug addiction has become common in recent times and is a behavior. marijuana. after a surgery or to lessen chronic pain. when people take drugs. However. read on. When the person continues to indulge in such behavior. even if he faces lot of physical. Scientists and researchers have done various studies on the effects of drug addiction. Continuous or regular use of drugs make the body addicted to it. They are cocaine. In both these cases. there are . Drugs are also prescribed by physicians to patients. that nothing else seems to be important. and gives rise to a situation where the person is not able to live without it. the effects of these drugs are also varied. There are different types of drugs which are illegal further leading to drug addiction. emotional and social problems. To know more about the effects of drug addiction. Each of these drugs has different results for the drug addict and likewise. there is a chance of a person getting addicted. ecstasy. but also mentally. steroids. The person gets addicted to it in such a way.. found in people all over the world. People start taking drugs for variety of reasons. to get rid of some physical or mental pain or to feel more energetic. it turns into an addiction. It is said that. they feel a sudden rush of energy and also find themselves in a different world where problems cannot reach them. etc. if the drug gives instant results. and have found that. it not only affects the person physically..

and it is likely that addicts even lose their friends due to this habit. heart disease. due to which his performance level goes down. By Deepa Kartha VVI Effects of Drug Addiction . They reach a condition where non-consumption of these drugs make them feel restless. To start with the treatment. It happens that the person is not able to concentrate on the job. arthritis and lung diseases. Physiological effects that are found in the initial stages of drug addiction are irregular breathing and. Physiological Effects Drug addiction can have severe effects on the entire body of the person. Drug addiction not only effects the person. Drug addiction is said to have resulted to the breakdown of many families. but it is a dangerous addiction that can even take away his life. As drugs are illegal in almost every country. the drug addict must realize that he has a problem which is dangerous not only for himself but. he does not have the power of controlling it. eventually leading him to lose his job. It is also one of the reasons for a person getting infected with AIDS. The long term effects of drug addiction are more serious. The effects of drug addiction can also be seen in a person's professional life. increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Family members and friends feel helpless as they are not able to do anything to help their loved ones from not taking drugs. It has been observed that drug addiction is one of the causes of increased crime rate in the society. The person may also experience sudden weight gain or weight loss. People steal. depressed and anxious. The person should understand the fact that drugs may give him an immediate relief. Some of the dangerous diseases that is caused due to drug addiction are brain damage. It is rather difficult to treat a person from drug addiction. Psychological and Social Effects Once an individual gets into drug abuse. Drug addicts have the tendency to turn extremely violent. increasing their craving for taking more drugs. also for the people around him.some common effects of addiction that can be found in a drug addict. due to sharing of syringes to inject drugs. when they are under the spell of drugs. go into prostitution and even sell their homes to make money for buying drugs. but is not impossible. but also his family and friends. it is quite expensive and is not easily accessible.

which results in a change in behavior. to the lost members of society. An addict might say: “I’m not hurting anybody. Aside from the obvious behavioral consequences of addiction. crack and methamphetamine. Often no one knows for sure. and the drugs change brain chemistry. the drug is going to win. Did the depression CAUSE the addiction or did the alcoholism cause the depression? Did the alcoholism CAUSE the family problems or where the family problems an EFFECT of the addiction.. heroin. because there is no such thing as an addict who is only hurting him/herself. I’m only hurting myself. the negative effects on a person’s health are potentially devastating. For over 30 years the United States government has had its “War on Drugs.It is often difficult with drug and alcohol addiction to decide is something a CAUSE or an EFFECT. Illegal Drug are BIG BUSINESS read more. The problem is found everywhere. we can quickly see that the statement is false.” but in that time frame we have seen in increase in crime. Drug abuse is a disease of the brain. in churches and in schools. This section contains some topic areas. .” However.. but are we winning? The effects of drug addiction are far reaching and can be seen in the home. The “War on Drugs” has also brought on new research. Effects of Drug and Alcohol Addiction What are the major effects of drug addiction? It is everybody’s problem. increase in health care costs and an alarming increase in the use of dangerous drugs such as cocaine. from the rich and privileged. new and sometimes controversial theories on treatment. advances in drug addiction medications. What are the effects of drug addiction on health? If left unchecked. a greater number of treatment facilities. on the job.

read Candice's story for a description. drug addiction has a major impact on the American economy. lost time in the workplace. beyond the devastating effect on families. and therefore the . or they can passively enable the addiction to advance. brothers and sisters...” the unintended consequences include but are not limited to overdose. Drug addiction causes impaired reasoning. What are the effects of drug addiction on the family? One of the saddest aspects of the insidious nature of drug addiction is that by the time an addict realizes he/she has a problem. Parents in treatment centers tell counselors and therapists that they want to “get their kids back. and sadly children are all impacted.. that problem has already taken a heavy toll on the family. beyond community crime statistics. Husbands and wives. This total includes the cost of law enforcement. HIV/AIDS. To learn more about Effects of drug addiction -Depression click here. To understand this better you may want to read "Get Sick to Feel Better" a story of the negative effects of drug addiction. Drug Addiction Behavior what is it like.Darci's story of the effects of drug addiction on her life! Suicide is also a common effect of drug addiction.” as drug addiction has taken over to the point where the courts have been forced to remove the children from the home. stroke.While addicts use drugs to “feel better. Families can be sources of strength and support. etc.. to to learn more about drug addiction suicide click here Depression is also an effect of addiction. incarceration. or they can be the victims of it. cardiovascular disease and a host of related maladies. traffic injuries. What are the effects of drug addiction on the economy? Beyond the personal health issues. treatments. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that some $67 billion per year is the impact that drug addiction has on this country. Families can share in the victory over drug addiction.

Are we to lenient with drug addiction crime? How Addiction Affects You and Your Family Addiction is not just about the drinking.crime rate is dramatically impacted by drug use. their loved one. and arrests for crimes ranging from child neglect to murder. You can easily see that if you group the two together. Ultimately it affects every aspect of their lives including you. Look closer and chances are great that you will uncover a drug addiction component to any of these stories. but doctor-prescribed medication. drive-by shootings. What are the effects of drug addiction on our society? The National Library of Medicine estimates that some 20% of all people in the United States have used prescription medication for non-medical purposes. and you can quickly realize this problem is enormous. Over time it gradually affects your thinking and behavior until you reach the point where you wonder how you got to be the person . illegal drug use and prescription drug misuse. heroin or methamphetamine use. What are the effects of drug addiction on the Law? The news media reports daily struggles with theft. Addicts have a much higher likelihood of committing crimes than others. illegal trafficking and manufacturing of drugs. It also profoundly affects their thinking and behavior. drug busts. we have a huge problem. Put some of the factors together-the alcohol-related deaths on our streets and highways. We’re not talking about cocaine. the absenteeism on the job and the serious risk of HIV infection for those using needles. the abuse of the health care system by addicts showing up at Emergency Rooms looking for drugs. drug or food use in the alcoholic or addict.

and the addict in your life. all the while hoping the situation will get better even as it continues to get worse. which is the hallmark of the disease. In addition to Alcohol and Drug Addiction.you've become. Does this sound familiar? As a result of the denial. they too become casualties of the disease. or by trying to numb yourself to it and its effects. eating or using either by obsessing about it and ways to control it. This sometimes paralyzes us from taking action regarding our loved ones addiction. You tolerate negative behavior and find yourself behaving in ways that you later regret. and you settle for less. you tell yourself it's not that bad. To learn more about these addictions click on a link below: ALCOHOL | DRUGS | FOOD ADDICTION | SEX ADDICTION . You become preoccupied with the addict's drinking. You cover up for the addict or try to punish them for their behavior. The good news is the addiction is treatable for you. You reach a point where you're not certain how or why things have changed. You don't have to go on living your life controlled by the addiction. You begin to question yourself and your perceptions of what's normal. there are other types of addictions that we provide intervention services for including: Food Addiction and Sex Addiction. You may feel like or be accused of being the “crazy” one. Your life becomes centered around the addiction. When this occurs it limits your ability to be emotionally available to your children or other loved ones in your life. your family. but it has and the love and caring in your family has been lost.