by Sally Miles
Effects of substance abuse are far-reaching and extremely damaging. Family and financial devastation can result. Children lose their parents to overdose and incarceration. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), "more deaths, illnesses and disabilities result from substance abuse than from any other preventable health condition."
The addicted are at increased risk for cardiovascular and respiratory problems, kidney and liver damage, and certain types of cancers. Pregnant addicts put their unborn at risk for a wide variety of health problems. Needle users suffer from collapsed veins and blood infections. Substance abusers risk fatal overdoses.
Substance abusers who share needles risk contracting the HIV virus and hepatitis. Those who turn to prostitution to support their drug habits are at increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases.
NIDA reports that habitual use of drugs can increase the abuser's odds of suffering from paranoia, depression, aggression and hallucinations. Substance abuse is a risk factor for suicide, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
Substance abusers may turn to crime in order to procure drugs; arrest and imprisonment can result. Consorting with unsavory criminal individuals brings the threat of physical violence.
Substance abusers may turn to crime to support their habits.
Family relationships can be shattered by drug abuse. At best, the spouse and children of the addict leave unharmed; at worst, domestic violence, poverty and child abuse ensue.
Substance abuse devastates family members.