How Drugs Affect Society
People often see those with substance abuse problems as having problems that are largely of their own making. That can make them feel that people who have substance abuse issues are simply bad people.
People who struggle with this issue deserve compassion and kindness. They also deserve proper treatment to help them deal with their addiction. That’s why it is important to understand exactly what drugs do to the brain.
It’s also important to know how the user of drugs affects the rest of the body. Offering access to help can people overcome this problem and stay clean. The use of effective treatment methods can also make the community a better place for all residents.
How Drugs Affect the Brain
Scientists have studied how drugs affect the brain quite extensively. What they have learned by working with people who use drugs is that using drugs can impact how the brain gets signals from other parts of the body. This also impacts the kinds of messages the brain gets. The brain has what is known as neurons and neurotransmitters.
Neurons are cells in your brain that allow for the communication of information from the outside world and the rest of your body. They do so by using neurotransmitter molecules.
Different drugs have different effects on the brain. Drugs like marijuana and heroin have an opioid effect. They will activate the neurons in the user’s brain. However, they aren’t real neurons. That means that the user’s brain is getting abnormal signals. This can affect the user’s ability to function and respond to inputs around them.
Other drugs such as meth and cocaine are stimulants. These are drugs that can create an overload of neurotransmitters in the user’s brain. This will also interrupt how the user’s brain functions after both short-term and long-term drug use.
Which Parts of the Brain do Drugs Affect?
Researchers have found that drugs impact many parts of the brain. A drug user’s brain stem — the part that controls basic functions like breathing — can be impacted by the use of drugs in a negative way. This can lead to disruptions in breathing patterns that can make it hard to sleep at night. The same is true of the area of the brain called the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia is the part of your brain that allows all parts of your brain to work together to do tasks each day.
Another area of the brain that drugs can affect is the extended amygdala. This is the part of your brain that is known to regulate emotions and help you create lasting memories. The prefrontal cortex is also known to be affected by drug use. this is a very important part of your brain. Drug use will affect your ability to engage in complex behavior as well as having an impact on your personality and emotional expression.
Drug Use Frequency and Tolerance
When understanding the science of drug use, it’s extremely important to understand what certain terms mean. One of the most important terms that researchers use when studying this issue is tolerance. Tolerance is what happens when the body gets used to having a certain level of the drug in your system at all times.
So if you were using heroin once a day, you body becomes adjusted to having that level. The effects of the heroin wear off more quickly even with the same amount. In order to get the same feelings again, you’ll need to take more of the drug. Over time the user may feel the need to take more and more heroin just to avoid feeling badly.
Tolerance is dangerous. People with addiction will have cravings for the drug even if they have just used it recently. They may feel deep seated urges that are very hard to ignore. That can lead to a spiral that creates overdoses and increases the user’s risk of death from drug use.
Health Effects of Drug Use
Drug use will impact many areas of the body. Every time someone uses these illicit substances, they put many parts of their body at risk of a negative event.
The physical effects of drugs are well documented. A single time using drugs can increase the user’s blood pressure and their risk of heart attack and stroke. Drug use can also lead to problems with the lungs and many other organs in the body including the kidneys, pancreas and stomach.
Drug use can also have an impact on the user’s emotions. People may have delusions or hallucinations as well as feelings of increased anxiety and depression. Paranoia and mood swings are also common.
How Drug Use Affects Relationships
One of the most heartbreaking effects of long term drug use is how it can impact the user’s relationships with other people. People who use drugs may find it hard to maintain a long term relationship with a spouse and their close family members.
A user may lie about where they are and what they are doing. That makes it hard for others to trust them. A drug user may also entice others to use drugs and thus create pathways for addiction that can destroy an entire family.
How Drug Use Affects Communities
Communities across the United States suffer as a result of drug use. Officials who study this subject closely estimate it costs over $740 billion each year to deal with the after effects of substance abuse. Prescription opioid abuse is estimated to over $78.5 billion to treat and control.
Increased drug use means lost hours as people are not working. It means a community may have a reputation as a place where drug use is tolerated and ignored. That can lead to a loss in property values and make it harder for people to sell houses in this area.
Drug Induced Crime
Roughly 65% of the American prison population has some form of drug addiction. Treating this substance abuse disorder imposes yet more costs on the American prison system.
Using drugs can induce people to react in ways that they might normally avoid. This can lead otherwise law abiding people lead to break the law. Drugs are not legal substances. people are not allowed to have them. Communities vary in the ways they penalize the use of these items. Some communities heavily penalize people who use drugs. Even a single use can lead to the possibility of a long prison sentence. Carrying a lot of drugs on the user’s person can put them at even further risk of even longer stays in prison and a long term criminal record.
The user is not the only one affected by the their use of drugs. Communities need to build and staff prisons to hold the offenders. Many long term drug users are unable to control their behavior when they are under the influence. They may choose to resort to illegal means to get access to drugs. They may drive while using drugs leading to even more dangerous behavior.
A drug user may commit crimes such as stealing a car to get to the venue where the drugs are being sold. The user may also steal other items in order to get access to their fix. A user may even engage in acts of violence to get access to the drugs they feel the need to use.
All of these effects can lead to problems that can impact a community’s ability to function. People who live in areas where drug use is common may understandably feel unsafe. Communities need to hire employees to deal with the effects of drug use on their residents. That makes life harder and more expensive for everyone.
How Drug Use Affects the Economy
Drug use has a negative effect on many sectors of the economy. Worker productivity suffers when workers are not focused on their work. A business owner may find they are being robbed and their goods stolen by the drug user. Business owners who cannot make a profit will choose to go somewhere else. This can deprive the local community of much needed funds for schools and parks.
People who use drugs are also at risk for all kinds of physical problems. That puts massive burdens on local emergency rooms and other health facilities. A drug user can make it hard for others to get the emergency treatment they need.
Using drugs can also interfere with the body’s ability to heal itself. People who use drugs and need medical care are will find it harder to recover. This pushes up the costs of care for everyone. It also increases the possibility for the need of further medical care.
Drug use also means makes it harder for people to use their full potential. A drug use can find it harder to earn a college degree and complete advanced training. People who do complete such activities will often find it harder to fully engage in necessary activities at work.
Using drugs can also put others at risk. A bus driver who uses drugs can easily make all sorts of mistakes when behind the wheel and put their passenger in danger. The same is true of other professions such as truck driver and pilot. A lawyer who uses drugs may not be able to fairly represent their clients. A doctor who is high when operating puts a patient at risk of all sorts of complications.
A typical worker will miss 15 days a year because of illness or injury. people who have a substance abuse problem with will miss about 24.6 days as a result of this problem. Employers need to train employees to do their jobs correctly. Training can be costly and take a lot of time.
People who have substance abuse issues may take a lot longer to learn to do their jobs. They are also more likely to leave for a new job as a result of disruptions because they are using drugs. This increases all kinds of costs for the employer. The employer has to spend more money on treatment for the drug user. They also have to spend more time and energy sorting through new applicants, finding the right one for the job and then training them.
The High Cost of Drug Abuse
The National Institute on Drug Abuse tracks the cost of drug on the economy very close. They estimate that the annual health care costs that result from the use of illicit are more than $11 billion in any year. Officials at the National Institute on Drug Abuse also believe that there’s another $26 billion in costs to the economy that come from problems related to the use of prescription opioid abuse.
One of the best things about studying drug use is that researchers have learned how to treat people with addiction. Allowing users access to effective treatment has been shown to be highly effective at reducing the cost and impact of drug use on the American public.
Officials estimate every single dollar spent on treating drug use leads to a savings of twelve dollars in costs such as prisons and healthcare.
Tips for Preventing Substance Abuse
Drug abuse can start at a young age. Children who are exposed to drug use in their communities are more likely to begin to use drugs. They are also more likely to be substance abusers when they grow up.
That’s why it is important to work with local school districts to help students understand the effects of drug use. It’s also important to have efforts at school to help students understand this issue and what they can do to combat it.
Local public health centers can conduct community health outreach. This is a great way for them to let community members understand how to stop drug use and help those who struggle with addiction.
They can let the public know about the kind of services they offer and who might benefit. This makes it easier for people with addiction to find someone they can speak to who understands their problems.
Establishing a toll-free number is another way to open up channels of communication with users and the regional community. This allows users to ask for help. It also provides a means for people who have a loved one with an addiction to contact someone who can help them.
Media campaigns can also be helpful. Articles about drug use can highlight the dangers involved. Articles can also help people realize where they might go if they need help to overcome addiction.