21 Oct Risky business… the costs
We know you’ve heard it a million times: Doing drugs is dangerous!
But just to make sure you know exactly how dangerous, below is a list of the general risks:
FOR ALL ILLEGAL DRUGS:
•Users experience a “crash” after their high. This is a period of anxiety, depression and a strong desire to use more—hence, the risk of addiction.
•Flashbacks can occur weeks or months after use has stopped. These flashbacks can be terrifying.
•Death by overdose is a risk associated with almost every type of drug.
•Death by accident is associated with every drug.
•Sharing needles dramatically increases the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and/or hepatitis.
• Some drug users engage in criminal activity such as burglary and prostitution to raise money for their drugs.
•Relationship problems are common among people who abuse drugs as is the inability to keep a job.
•The effects on the developing fetus (in the womb) are signiﬁcant and may result in death of the fetus or birth defects and addiction at birth.
Pop quiz: What risk do all drugs have in common?
The answer: Death, either from the drug or from an accident caused by being under the inﬂuence of the drug. But there are many other risks as well….
Emotional and Social Risks…
When people abuse drugs (including alcohol), they can become ill and their abilities to function can become limited, both at times (think of a hangover or an overdose) and just in general (think being controlled by the desire to obtain and do drugs). Over time, with continued abuse of a drug, major limitations can manifest (meaning, develop). For example, losing a job, becoming homeless, losing a family member who once supported you. Can you imagine what that must feel like on an emotional level?
But also imagine the suffering of the people affected: can you imagine the suffering brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers must feel when they know their loved one is struggling with drugs?
Supporting a drug habit is expensive. And, often, tolerance develops so that the more you use a drug, the more you need to feel the same effects, which means the more expensive it becomes. Plus, some drugs are so addictive that people have sold their homes, clothes even children to support their drug habit (See heroin post.) In addition, a drug problem increases the likelihood that you will lose your job, which means you lose your income. That is a really expensive cost of a drug habit.
Moreover, imagine what those financial issues do when combined as a nation? If you live in the United States, you will pay taxes one day, both federal and local, and you will have health insurance costs. You will be a law-abiding productive member of society. Isn’t that what makes living here so great? You contribute and you get rewarded for it over the long term.
But some people develop addictions and dependence on drugs and alcohol and, as such, they are not able to contribute to society the way a normal person does. Then what? Can you imagine the cost to society?
How many people do you think live in America? A quick google search will say roughly 325 million as of 2017.
How much money do you think it costs Americans (tax payers like yourself one day) to pay for the abuse of tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs?
Currently, we pay over $600 billion annually in costs related to crime, lost work and healthcare—that’s $1,800 per person in the U.S.!!!! (source: National Institute on Drug Abuse – NIDA)
Those are some big emotional/social and financial risks, but the largest risk of all? Addiction.
Addiction is when you crave something so much that you continue to do it despite all of the negative consequences it has on your life. Addiction is the most powerful reason adults send the message “don’t do drugs” – they are afraid that you may become addicted. Addiction is such a key component to this message that it has its very own post in this section. It is at the heart of all warnings about drugs because addiction will ruin your life (see Patrick’s story).