What Are the Effects of Drug Abuse?

A person who abuses drugs is putting himself in a dangerous situation during each and every use and risks becoming addicted to drugs. Drug abuse can impact a person's health in negative ways, and overdosing on drugs can be fatal. Abusing either prescription or illegal drugs also can lead to job loss or a person's financial ruin. The effects of drug abuse are not limited to the drug user. Children, spouses and even strangers can find themselves in scary scenarios because of a drug abuser's behavior.

One of the most common effects of drug abuse is addiction. A person may decide to try a drug a few times to let loose or deal with depression, but his body may become dependent on the drug before he realizes it and tries to stop using. Many drugs, including cocaine, heroin, narcotic pain killers and sedatives, are considered highly addictive.


A person who uses drugs not prescribed by a doctor is putting his health in grave danger. Street drugs and legal drugs can have many dangerous side effects, ranging from appetite changes to nausea to shortness of breathe. Heart palpitations and disorientation also are common side effects of many drugs. A person who mixes the wrong combination of drugs or takes too much of a specific drug can slip into a coma and die. Drugs also affect a person's mental state, which may lead to bad choices such as sharing needles, which can result in the spread of chronic or fatal diseases.

Financial problems also are among the effects of drug abuse. An addict may do almost anything to get his next fix. Some drug abusers spend rent money or take out loans to buy drugs. A person's judgment also is impaired by extended drug use, so he may stop showing up for work or find himself unable to perform job tasks as necessary.

Drug abusers hurt other people with their behavior. Family members of a drug user often feel the effects of drug abuse. Pregnant women who use drugs can cause harm to their unborn babies. A drug user's behavior can impact a spouse, who may wind up enabling the abuser because of uncertainty about how to handle the situation. Children also can be traumatized by fighting and financial instability in the household once drug abuse by an adult begins.

The effects of drug abuse can even be spread to an innocent bystander. If a person abuses drugs and drives under the influence, then he may hit or kill a person who was minding his own business. Fatal drug-related accidents can ruin the lives of entire families and hurt entire communities.



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