Drug addiction: the implications

Drug addiction can have serious implications in all areas of a person’s life as well as wider implications for society.

Physical implications

As we have already established, drug addiction can cause serious health problems and can, in many cases, contribute to a premature death. Drug addiction can lead to painful withdrawal symptoms which prompt the addict to take more drugs; these include:

  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Extreme sweating
  • Muscular aches
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dizziness and confusion

Psychological implications

Drugs can be as damaging to the mind as they are to the body; mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia are significantly higher amongst people with drug dependencies. People with drug addictions also commonly suffer from a lack of self-esteem, self-worth and confidence.

Financial implications

Drugs are not cheap and an addiction can lead to spiralling debts, especially in the case of heroin and cocaine addicts. Financial meltdown can contribute to family breakdowns, stress and depression and people may end up losing everything they have worked so hard for prior to their dependency. Dealers are notoriously tough and they are not likely to feel nay compassion for people that cannot afford to pay their debts; this could lead to physical harm or harm to other family members or friends.

Implications for family and friends

Having a person with any dependency in the family can be extremely stressful, particularly as a long term drug habit completely changes the person they are; they may become very deceptive and they may be completely unrecognisable from the person their relatives used to know and love. The family may also become involved in the financial pressures caused by a drug addiction; they may even lose their home and possessions. People that are trying to support a person with a dependency may feel extreme stress and emotional turmoil that can cause them to become physically and mentally ill themselves.

Implications for society

Drug abuse costs taxpayers millions of pounds each year; this tally results from healthcare, the cost of crime and lost earnings. Crime and unemployment are both significantly higher in areas where drugs are prevalent. The NHS pays out millions of pounds each year caring for those who have dependencies and treating people who have had adverse reactions to drugs. Drugs can also cause people to become deceptive and unpredictable, which can cause fear amongst local communities.

Guide to Drug Abuse

Drug Abuse Intro




Drug addiction the implications





Long term effects of drug abuse

Short term effects of drug use


Spotting the signs of drug abuse

Support for people with drug dependencies