The 10 Things Drug Use Affects
In a video posted online by Narconon, a young woman named Spencer shares the story of her life as a drug addict prior to coming to the Narconon Arrowhead rehab center in Oklahoma. She says that she began using drugs when she was only 12 or 13 years old, and that her entire life changed for the worse. Certain aspects of the negative consequences of her drug use stand out in her story more than others. Now that she has recovered from her addiction, she recognizes that, “my drug use affected my family and friends dramatically.” Her story is a common one, and it shares the ways in which drug use impacts the life of the addict and those who love the person:
Here are the 10 Things That Drug Use Affects
It would be difficult to exaggerate the extent to which drug use affects the family of the addict. In some cases, they don’t know what is going on, but they recognize that is something wrong all the same. Their loved one is changing, is becoming distant and may become hostile or estranged. Maybe they do know about the drug use, in which case they typically worry themselves away over their loved one’s health and safety. Spencer now wonders how many nights her mother laid awake worrying about her.
2. Friends Are Affected Too
Of her friends, Spencer says: “I did not realize it at the time, that I was producing any effect on them, until I came here to Narconon and thought about it.” Friends, especially close friends, typically suffer the same types of upset that are imposed on the family of a drug addict. To make matters worse, drug use usually leads one into the ‘wrong crowd.’ In Spencer’s words, “the friends that I had, I don’t think that you can really define those people as ‘friends.’ They were just people I used with. I even stole from them, and they stole from me.”
3. Drug Abuse Affects Work Performance
One can only use drugs for so long before they will start to interfere with on-the-job performance. Whether the person starts showing up late or missing work, or even comes to work high, fellow co-workers and employers will soon begin to notice the difference. “I lost jobs,” Spencer says, describing what happens to many people who let drugs take over their lives.
In the same way that drug use almost inevitably causes problems on the job, so does it usually wreak havoc on a student’s academic life. In many cases a young person who is using drugs will simply stop trying to succeed at school. Even if he or she is still making an effort to get good grades, the distraction, mental fogginess and stress associated with drug use makes it far more difficult to complete assignments, pass tests and generally do well.
5. Financial Stability
As mentioned above, drug use will frequently pose a threat to a person’s career, and will very often result in job loss. To make matters worse, the costs of maintaining a drug habit can be astonishing. Depending on the specific drug that the person is using, an addict may be spending hundreds of dollars per week — or in some cases even hundreds of dollars on a daily basis.
6. Physical Health
Drug use inevitably takes a toll on a person’s state of physical health. Most drugs are, fundamentally, poisons. Many deplete the body of its natural reserves. Marijuana, for example, exhausts a body’s supply of magnesium. Others work by interfering with the natural chemical balance in the brain. Effects such as these cause serious disruption in the body’s systems and processes, and typically lead to lethargy, poor immune system response and a generally depressed state of health.
7. Mental Health
People who use drugs very often end up developing mental health disorders. The stereotypes of the paranoia or sluggishness of the pothead, the irritability and aggression of the “coke-head,” and the erratic manic state of the meth “tweeker” all have a basis in fact. Using psychoactive substances will nearly always leave lasting effects on the mind, both due to the experience of getting high and because of the depression which usually follows.
8. Social Reputation
Friends and family may become estranged towards a drug addict, but they usually never give up caring for the person’s well-being. The same cannot be said of acquaintances, neighbors and co-workers. Drug use carries, rightly, a major social stigma, and those who learn that a person is a drug addict, or who have reason to suspect as much, will often shun that person. This gradual social isolation tends to drive the person deeper into addiction, as he or she increasingly depends on drugs for a way to compensate for the lack of support and acceptance.
9. Criminal Record
Drug use is, by and large, illegal throughout the United States. With very few exceptions, the simple fact of having even a small amount of drugs in one’s possession is a crime, punishable by steep fines, jail time and the stigma of having a criminal record. The U.S. prison population has exploded to the level where it is the largest in the history of the world, and most of this expansion can be attributed to the numbers of non-violent offenders who are serving time for a drug-related offense. Even if an addict avoids an arrest for possession or distribution of drugs, he or she may end up getting caught for stealing in order to buy more drugs, driving under the influence of drugs, engaging in prostitution to get the money for drugs, or similar crimes.
The harsh reality is that a person who uses drugs is far less likely to live a long and happy life. Tens of thousands of Americans die from drug overdose every year. Many others die from diseases or illnesses associated with their drug use, such as terminal illnesses acquired through sharing intravenous needles. Others lose their lives in drug-related traffic collisions and other accidents. Some are killed in drug-related violence. However it happens, an addict stands a far greater chance of an early demise than he or she might otherwise. Fortunately, it is possible to turn one’s life around and put an end to addiction. This is what Spencer did at Narconon Arrowhead, and it is what countless others have done through the Narconon program over the course of more than 40 years.