The social effects of drug abuse on the community should make everybody question how to stop drug abuse in a community (whether a town, workplace, or other group). Individuals suffering from addiction are frequently looked down upon, with the general idea that their drug misuse is their fault and they are only harming themselves. However, that is a skewed perspective of a large-scale societal issue.

Drug addiction is more than a compulsion; it is an illness that demands treatment and compassion like any other chronic health condition. Addiction has far-reaching consequences that extend beyond the addicts themselves, which is why it is important to build communities against substance abuse. Drug misuse affects many aspects of our society, even if society members are unaware of it. On both an individual and a community-wide scale, drug abuse social issues have a high cost. 

Keep reading to learn more about the social effects of drug abuse on the community and how to stop drug abuse in a community.

How Drug Abuse Affects Society

  • Loss of child custody is on the rise
  • Child maltreatment and neglect are on the rise, as are the dangers of addiction for children of drug-addicted parents
  • Domestic conflict is on the rise
  • Homelessness and poverty are on the rise
  • The cost of health care is a significant financial burden
  • Co-occurring mental problems are becoming more common
  • Insurance premiums and taxes can rise
  • Violent crime on college campuses is on the rise
  • Revenue losses for businesses and colleges are more apparent

Drug addiction is a complicated disorder with far-reaching effects for those who know, work with, or support a drug addict. Even if you don’t know anyone who is abusing drugs, you will undoubtedly be impacted somehow, whether it’s through higher taxes, higher insurance premiums, higher college tuition, or working longer hours. A community substance abuse center can help people overcome addiction in healthy ways and can help reverse the social effects of drug abuse on the community.

How Drug Use Affects Communities

Even if you don’t personally know someone with a drug abuse disorder, addiction can affect your community in many ways. Health care, work productivity, crime, and substance abuse cost the United States more than $740 billion per year. Illegal drug misuse costs $193 billion and prescription opioid abuse costs another $78.5 billion.

Courts can become overcrowded with drug cases, and victims (e.g., a robbed or burglarized business) may face additional fees. Suppose a city has a string of drug-related crimes. In that case, it may develop a reputation for having “bad” areas, resulting in a drop in property prices and sales tax income as people avoid visiting or living there.

Drug abuse’s socio-economic impact is also a generational issue. It is projected that providing social service child welfare efforts for these families costs $23 billion per year. Furthermore, children of addicts may be at a higher risk of developing substance misuse problems and behavioral, emotional, or social challenges.

How Drug Abuse Impacts Families

Those closest to a drug abuser are the ones who suffer the most. When at least one member of a family is addicted to drugs, common patterns emerge. High levels of criticism or negativism within homes, parental inconsistency, or denial in parents dealing with a drug-addicted child are all examples of these behaviors. Self-medication as a coping mechanism for family dysfunction is standard, as is misdirected hatred between drug addicts and non-addicts in the family.

The use of alcohol or drugs is involved in most domestic disputes, and co-dependent relationships are common among spouses who have at least one partner who is addicted to drugs. More than 80% of all foster placements are due to drug or alcohol misuse, and drug or alcohol abuse is a critical component in 80% of all child abuse and neglect cases. Substance abuse rates among foster adolescents are much higher than in the general population.

Specific drug types have been linked to a higher risk of losing custody of a child. For example, only around 10% of babies born to untreated heroin addicts live with their original mothers by age 5. Sadly, children of drug addicts are eight times more likely than adults to abuse drugs.

How Drug Use Affects Relationships

Drug abuse has the potential to harm a person’s relationships. Drug addiction can completely consume a person’s life, leaving them unable to maintain healthy connections with friends, family, or even acquaintances. 

Finally, drug addiction can harm one’s self-esteem and sense of worth. If the person can even be bothered to show up for work, drug addiction might hinder job performance. A decline in work production is another example of the social effects of drug abuse on the community.

Employers and Co-Workers Suffering from Drug Addiction

Many Americans consume alcohol immediately before leaving for work or arrive at work with hangover symptoms. This astonishing truth does not necessarily reflect regular workplace alcohol consumption but indicates widespread acceptance of intoxicant use despite known consequences. To compensate for decreased productivity, co-workers of drug and/or alcohol addicts take on more obligations at work. 

A drop in productivity directly impacts employers; if drug abuse is widespread, it can lead to the closure of a business. Small and medium-sized firms are the ones most likely to collapse as a result of drug-related productivity losses. Working drug users are estimated to be a third less productive than their non-drug-using co-workers.

The Effects of Drug Abuse on Health

Substance abuse disorders are linked to a variety of short- and long-term health consequences. They can differ based on the substance, the amount and frequency with which it is used, and the person’s overall health. Drug addiction and dependence can have far-reaching consequences. They have the potential to affect practically every organ in the human body.

The following are some of the possible side effects of drug addiction:

  • Drug-induced heart disorders range from irregular heart rhythms to heart attacks, ruptured veins, and blood vessel infections
  • Nausea and gastrointestinal pain, changes in appetite, and weight loss
  • Increased liver strain, putting the person at risk of severe liver damage or liver failure
  • Seizures, strokes, mental confusion, and brain damage
  • Memory, concentration, and decision-making issues that make daily life more difficult

Effects of Drug Addiction on the Brain

All drugs, including nicotine, cocaine, and marijuana, affect the limbic system’s “reward” circuit. This part of the brain influences instinct and emotion. Drugs work by flooding the brain with massive levels of dopamine, a brain chemical that helps control emotions and feelings of pleasure. A surge of dopamine causes the “high.” Drugs can affect brain chemistry, even if initial usage is consensual. This can change how the brain works and damage a person’s decision-making ability.

These can affect a person’s mood, behavior, and other cognitive capacities. Brain injury can be caused by alcohol-induced nutritional shortages, alcohol-induced convulsions, and liver illness. Alcohol exposure during pregnancy can affect the brains of unborn babies, leading to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. It has been noted that with adequate therapy, alcohol-induced brain disorders can often be resolved.

Effects of Drugs on Behavior

Substance abuse disorders can lead to a variety of behavioral issues in the short and long term, including:

  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Impaired judgment
  • Loss of self-control
  • Addiction
  • Impulsiveness
  • Aggressiveness

These side effects of drug addiction have significant ramifications, such as missed employment, criminal charges, accidents, and injuries. Alcohol and drugs are thought to be a factor in almost 80% of all offenses that result in jail time in the United States. Domestic violence, driving while intoxicated, and property damage violations are among the incidents. 

Except for alcohol, legal and illegal drugs are involved in roughly 16% of all car accidents. In the previous year, approximately 12 million people drove while under the influence of illicit drugs and about 4,000 fatally injured drivers tested positive for drug usage.

Tips for Preventing Substance Abuse

There are some things that the community can do to stop drug abuse:

  • Implement school-based awareness programs for children
  • Enlist youth organizations to promote awareness initiatives
  • Religious leaders in the community should be involved because they could encourage people to seek professional care
  • Local public health centers must be equipped with skilled staff and adequate referral mechanisms so early detection and treatment are possible 
  • Create a toll-free number for drug abusers, their families, or their friends to call
  • Post posters, leaflets, and notices related to drug and alcohol use
  • Obtaining assistance from the media, including print, television, and radio

If communities take these kinds of actions against substance abuse, it could significantly change everybody’s life. 

Help for Drug Addiction Is Here

Everybody in the community is responsible for each other’s lives. A community substance abuse center can counteract drug abuse social issues and social effects of drug abuse on the community. But sometimes, that isn’t enough. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction, Coastal Detox can provide you with online support, as well as expert assistance and treatment options. Be sure to contact us immediately to speak with someone about taking the initial steps toward a new life.