Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse can have an Array of Negative Consequences

Substance abuse, whether it be alcohol or drugs, can have an array of negative consequences on your life. Some of which you won’t be surprised by. You may however, be shocked by the data regarding the number of people who take drugs and who have suffered death as a result. The figures surrounding substance abuse have been outline below:

 The Facts

• Young adults aged 16-24 were more likely to have consumed drugs in the last year than adults aged 25+.• In 2013, the amount of adult’s aged 16-24 taking drugs was 16.3%, which was a decrease from 19.3% in 2011/2012.• According to the English police and the probation service, more than 50% of individuals arrested for robbery and property crime, were all under the influence and had use of Class A drugs such as heroin.• Worldwide, the harmful use of alcohol results in 2.5 million deaths each year.• Approximately 15.3 million individuals have drug use disorders.• Around 320,000 individuals aged between 15 and 29 die from alcohol-related causes.• It is suggested by the National Treatment Agency that 109,683 adults are receiving alcohol treatment in England.• There are 20,032 under 18’s accessing substance misuse services, and are 109,683 adults who are receiving treatment services in 2013.Substance Abuse, Negative Consequences, The Facts, Consequences


There are a number of negative impacts caused by substance misuse. Some of which are more harmful than others, but in the longer term, regular misuse can lead to detrimental effects on the individual.

• Injury

Substance misuse can lead to illness, disability and in worse cases, death. Did you know one in four deaths are a result of illegal drug use? There are many incidents that occur from substance misuse, which could be avoided. Substance abuse is a preventable health condition. Users can experience the feeling of invincibility, which means they are more likely to take risks, and do things they wouldn’t normally.

• Domestic

Substance abuse can lead to the users becoming violent, whether it be an unprovoked attack on a stranger or physical abuse in the home environment. Substance abuse can change the mood and temperament of an individual. They may experience mood swings, and a short temper, which can leave them feeling out of control when it comes to their own mind and actions. Abuse of drink and/or drugs can have a harmful effect on children in the household.

• Health

Substance misuse can lead to a range of medical problems. Use of drugs can have an effect on nearly every organ in the human body. It can also have a negative effect on your immune system making it weaker. This means you are most likely to pick up infections. Regular intake can lead to seizures, heart failure, high blood pressure or even an irregular heartbeat. They may feel depressed, feel anxious or even have mood swings. Some substances can causes sudden reactions, and a high dosage can lead to cardiac arrest. Whereas others such as nicotine or alcohol can lead to health problems such as lung disease or cancer.

Are the health implications really worth a short term high? Once hooked on to a substance you become dependent on it to get through each day. Drugs have an uncontrollable influence on your mind, which is a scary thought! Being addicted to a substance can take over your life. For example an alcoholic may feel like the first thing they need when they wake up is a drink. Regular abuse of drugs can lead to an overdose. This involves consuming too much of a substance in a short period of time.

The regular use of drugs can have an impact on your brain and its chemistry. This means your ability and the way you would usually make decisions will be affected. This can lead to potential impulsive cravings, and becoming reliant on the substance you’re addicted to. Substances such as cocaine or nicotine, can have an impact on the ‘reward’ circuit which is a part of the limbic system. The ‘high’ you experience is created from a flood in dopamine. Abuse of drink or drugs can lead to a range of negative behavioural problems including:

-Addiction-Impaired judgement-Aggressiveness-Paranoia-Hallucinations-Impulsiveness-Lack of self-control

• Financial

The user can find themselves having financial difficulties in order to keep up with their habit. They may start to use money that was set aside for things such as bills, to pay for drink or drugs. Substances start to become the main focus on a person’s life and so it can become more important than family, friends, education, happiness, and health. It takes full control of the user’s life, becoming the only thing they live for.

• Crime

There is a thin line between crime and substance misuse. It is more likely that offences will be committed by people under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is a crime to consume or distribute illegal drugs, but to go on to commit further crimes, whilst under the influence of substances, is having a negative impact on a person’s health and on the rest of society.

Substance misuse can lead to a negative change in an individual’s behaviour. This can lead to a range of crimes being committed for example anti-social behaviour, property crime, stealing etc. some people may feel the need to steal in order to fund their habit. Such addictions can lead to criminal behaviour and consist of crimes including murder, assault, burglary, or even arson.

Substance abuse and criminal activity are strongly interlinked. It is important that people who have served time in prison, have a structured rehabilitation programme in place upon release, it is difficult for an individual to fully recover. They are highly likely to turn back to drugs without the necessary support in place. This can make serving time in prison ineffective and expensive using taxpayer’s money.

Awareness is key, and so the more people that have an understanding of the harmful effects the better. It is important that teenagers are educated at a young age about the detrimental effects drink and drugs has on an individual’s life.


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