The Effects of Substance Addiction on the Individual and Society

Addiction has a profound effect on both the individual and society. It has been the source, in many cases, of homelessness, ill physical health, family separation, domestic violence, and Adverse Childhood Experiences. The National Drug Intelligent Center (NDIC) (2006) explains that the negative consequences of the drug abuse affect family, friends, businesses, and government resources. The economic reported cost in 2005 to the United States was about 180.9 billion dollars. The most obvious effect is how it manifest itself in individuals who are abusers. It causes, in many cases, suffering and, if not treated, death.

One of the most significant statistics related to the devastating effects of addiction is HIV/AIDS. NDIC (2006) indicated that in 2004 over 3.5 million individuals aged 18 and older admitted having used intravenous drugs in their lifetime. 14 percent were under the age of 25. What scary about this is that the Center for Disease Control reported in 2003 that 123.235 adults living with AIDS contracted the disease from using intravenous drugs and the survival rate is much less than those who contracted the disease from other public health issues. The NDIC (2006) reported that children of persons who are addicted are abused and neglected. Research has shown that addicted parents put their drug seeking and using above the welfare of their children. 

Medicalnewstoday (2022) explains that drug misuse, abuse, and addiction affect both mind and body of an addict. Of course, drugs affect everyone differently as well as the type of drug used, dosage and delivery method. Some of the short-term effects are changes in appetite, sleeplessness or insomnia, increase, heart rate, slurred speech changes in cognitive ability, and loss of coordination. Some of the other affects are loss of control of the use, relationship problems, and poor work and academic performance. Some of the psychological effects can be long-term such as developing depression, anxiety, panic disorder, increased aggression, paranoia, and hallucinations. Long-term physical issues are cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems, kidney damage, liver disease, and overdose. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (2022) explains that drug use increases the risk of contracting infections which result from unsafe behavioral practices.

Drug abuse and addiction is a danger to our society, but society must never be in such a rush to prevent it that it does not recognize that it is a disease as well. Affordable treatment should be made available to all that need it. Too often individuals are ready to seek treatment and cannot find it because they don’t have insurance, especially those who have co-occurring disorders. Individuals with mental health, especially individuals with schizophrenia often have a hard time. Some programs will not accept individuals with this diagnosis because of not having the medical staff to assist them in case of a psychotic experience and these are generally the free programs. So, if a person with schizophrenia has a problem with drugs and no insurance then they are left out. This is one of the great tragedies related to getting the services to those who need it the most. 


Medicalnewstoday (2022) What are Effects of Drug Abuse.  Retrieved February 27, 2022, from 

National Drug Intelligence Center (20060 the Impact of Drugs on Society. Retrieved February 27, 2022, from

National Institute on Drug Absue (2022) Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: the Science of Addiction. Retrieved February 27, 2022, from  


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