How Drug Abuse Impacts Society – And You

No sane person intentionally starts to use drugs and expects to develop mental and emotional problems in the long run. But as one continues towards his downward spiral, the ill effects that have first affected only him, his family and significant others, eventually spreads to his workplace and then to the community in which he resides. In short, drug addiction doesn’t only impact an individual but also the society as a whole.


A recent outcome of a study involving substance use shows that approximately 24 million people in America are into drugs;18 million into alcohol; and in 2012, nearly 23,000 of these citizens died from prescription drug overdose. At any time, there is about 10% of Americans who abuse alcohol and drugs, each time affecting families, significant others, colleagues from work, neighbors, and even non-significant others.

Additionally, the use of illicit drugs has been associated with higher rates of child abuse, foster care placements, teenage sex assault, and various other crimes. Among those who use drugs, a majority of them have a higher likelihood of incurring mental health problems and imprisonment for different offenses. The issue of drug abuse has heavily impacted all aspects concerned in the society.

Drug Abuse Affects Families 

It’s been said that those who are the closest to the drug addict are those who are hit the hardest – and that is so true. According to Beverly Engel L.M.F.T., “Relationships between substance dependent individuals and their partners and family members are typically considered not only painful but unsupportive and destructive.”

The issues and problems that have been reported within families are common wherein there is at least one drug addict in the family. These issues include widespread criticism and negativity, denial from parents, insecurity and anger on the part of the drug-addicted person, and dysfunctional familial relationships. “Untangling the triangles of addicted families can be a full-time job,” Joseph Troncale M.D. emphasized.

Co-dependence also occurs between partners, where there is at least partner that is using illegal drugs and its effects on the addicted partner is mostly cause for domestic wrangles. On the other hand, their children are forced to tend for themselves and take on the responsibility of being parents to their younger siblings. Most of them don’t have sufficient basic needs like shelter, food, and clothing, and probably don’t have some type of health care.


Families who have one drug addicted parent will consequentially end up in poverty with a scarcity of care, support, and love for each other. Illicit drug use is the most common cause of about 75% of children placed in foster care and nearly 80% of children suffering from neglect and child abuse. Finally – and the most unfortunate of all – is that these afflicted children are more likely to become drug abusers in the future.

“An addiction is a devastating cyclone of traumatic events and behaviors that can uproot and unhinge family relationships, causing damage well into the future,” Gregory L. Jantz Ph.D. says.

Drug Abuse Affects The Society

The terrifying effects of illicit drug use are prevalent and vivid in all countries around the world. It is the culprit in almost all cases of crime, dwindling resources, accidents and injuries, deficient child and health care, and a damaged way of life among the different individuals in the society.

One or two drug-addicted employees out of ten employees can significantly pull down productivity because of the negative behaviors that drug abusers usually possess, namely tardiness, inconsistent work ethic, and erratic temperament.

Other effects of drug abuse on society include:

  • Child harassment and violence
  • Higher losses of child custody
  • Relatively higher cases of domestic quarrels
  • Increased stress and strain levels among work colleagues
  • Poverty, malnutrition, and homelessness
  • Increased cases of mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic disorder, among others
  • Childcare and health care deprivation
  • Increased number of individuals who are incarcerated yearly
  • Decreased income for schools and businesses
  • Increased number of gangs and violence in campuses and neighborhoods


Alcohol or drug addiction is a complicated disease with widespread consequences that would undoubtedly affect those who are related to, support or work with the drug addict. Though you may know the addict only casually, you will likely be impacted one way or another. It may be through your taxes or insurance, or tuition, or work hours. The impact of drug addiction is horrifyingly boundless.

Having known this, it is only imperative to find help and support for those of you are tied to its knots, or to those who know someone caught up in the disease. Be encouraged to seek counseling or rehabilitation so that you may be guided to take the first steps towards recovery and towards a new life – before it’s too late.

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