Drugs are dragging America backward. In 2019, over 70,000 people died from drug overdoses, including those caused by abused prescriptions. This is nearly double the death rate in 2010.
Few would argue that drugs harm society. However, the sheer magnitude of social problems caused by drugs frequently goes unnoticed.
What effects do drugs have on the human body? How do they wreak havoc on family and workplace relationships? What role do they play in crime and environmental damage?
Answer these questions better to understand the true effects of drugs on society. Here’s a quick reference guide.
Drug problems harm people’s health in a variety of ways. The brain has several mechanisms for inducing productive behavior. When a person enjoys a tasty meal or falls in love, the brain releases a stimulating hormone known as dopamine.
Drugs also stimulate dopamine production. However, the brain can become dependent on drugs to produce, transmit, and receive dopamine over time.
This leads to dependency and emotional issues. Anhedonia occurs when a person experiences a lack of pleasure from stimulating activities.
Each drug has a unique effect on other parts of the body. Opioids can cause a person’s breathing to become so slow that they lose consciousness and die. Cocaine can cause heart muscles to stiffen, resulting in a heart attack.
Many people believe that psychedelic drugs such as LSD and mushrooms are “safe,” but anyone can have a bad trip and harm themselves.
Drug addiction has high medical costs. Every year, Americans lose more than $400 billion, the majority of which is due to healthcare costs.
One person’s drug use can have far-reaching consequences for their entire family. When someone uses drugs in front of their family members, they may cause distress or alienation. Being high or drunk at family gatherings is also stressful.
A child with a parent addicted to drugs or alcohol may struggle to grow up. They could be neglected or abused.
Even at a young age, they may develop their addiction. With addiction, peer pressure is always dangerous, but pressure from family members is especially problematic. When their parent offers them alcohol or drugs, a child finds it difficult to resist.
A parent who has an addicted child may have difficulty disciplining them. Their child may be gone for extended periods. They may bring strangers into the house who steal or insult their parents.
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Some people may begin using drugs to cope with problems in their personal lives. This may provide a temporary solution but, eventually, exacerbate their problems. They do not use problem-solving strategies to resolve the tension, instead relying on a dangerous crutch.
Drug users are far less productive in the workplace than others. The average employee misses 15 days per year due to illness or injury. On the other hand, a person with a substance use disorder misses 24.6 days on average.
Employee training can cost thousands of dollars. Addicts cost their employers a lot of money when they leave work early. Many people with addictions quit their jobs because they cannot meet their jobs’ demands.
Some people can work while battling addictions. They may appear to be highly functioning, but they are still addicted.
They may become addicted to an illegal substance to perform well. Their job performance may suffer if they lose access to drugs.
With drugs in their system, they may be unable to travel or perform major tasks. This can endanger clients, especially if the employee starts taking drugs and driving.
Drug use can lead to criminal behavior. They may steal money or belongings from relatives to pay for more drugs. Employees steal petty cash from their employers to buy drugs in rare cases.
A substance use disorder affects 65 percent of the American prison population. After being incarcerated, some of them developed an addiction. However, at least 20% of inmates were under the influence when they committed their crimes.
Being high or drunk can lead to criminal behavior. Drugs can impair one’s decision-making abilities, leading to risky decisions. They may have fewer inhibitions because they believe they can do whatever they want.
The production of methamphetamine poses significant environmental risks. It is based on toxic chemicals, which can leak onto the ground and seep into groundwater and underground habitats. Fumes can pollute the air and cause contact highs and lung damage.
The majority of cannabis is grown outside. Cannabis plants have the potential to become an invasive species, depriving native plants of water. Cultivators may dam streams to provide water to individual plants.
Farmers have cleared vast swaths of forest to cultivate coca plants for cocaine production. They then use pesticides to care for their plants, killing any native trees that remain.
The majority of the chemicals used in drug production are flammable. A single spark can burn down a drug laboratory while spewing toxins into the air.
How Drugs Harm Society
Drugs have a wide-ranging negative impact on society. They disrupt heart and lung function by rerouting dopamine in the brain.
They can separate parents and children. When children see their parents using drugs, they may use them themselves.
Addicts are less productive and are more likely to lose their jobs. They are also more likely to commit criminal offenses. Growing and manufacturing drugs pollute the environment and deplete water resources. However, these effects are reversible.