The consequences of drug abuse and addiction can take a heavy toll on those who become trapped by it. However it is not only the drug users themselves who suffer, but their families, friends, colleagues and wider society as a whole as well.
The behaviour of the individual can be affected to a greater or lesser extent by their drug habit, depending on the specific drug and the frequency of their substance abuse. At its extreme (as is often the case with illicit narcotic drugs), an addiction can ‘consume’ a person and affect every area of their life, and by extension the lives of those around them.
In the case of childhood and adolescent drug abuse, many drugs can negatively affect the individual’s physical and mental development, resulting in a net loss for the wider society. Drug abuse can also contribute significantly to anti-social behaviour both in school and in the community. It may lead to higher truancy and drop-out rates, negatively effecting the standard of education as a whole.
Adult drug users can experience a varying degree of social, interpersonal and work-based problems as a result of their drug use. When one member of a family is abusing drugs on a regular basis, it can put a significant strain on the family as a whole and the other individuals within the family unit. Because some drug addictions can be so powerful and the person’s behaviour highly destructive, they can even lead to higher divorce rates, and contribute to the growing number of single parent families.