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Effects of drug abuse


Date Posted: 10/5/2018 7:24:02 AM

Posted By: Eliop  Membership Level: Bronze  Total Points: 92

Drug abuse is compulsive use of drugs for recreational purposes or as a means to deal with mental illness. Different drugs alter the normal functioning of the body, leading to adverse effects on an individual’s health. Continuous drug use has mental, physical, behavioral, social and economic implications on an individual.


A drug is a substance that alters the normal functioning of the body. Drug abuse is continuous and hazardous use of chemical substances. Commonly abused drugs include alcohol, cocaine, prescription drugs, opiates and marijuana. Drug abuse causes adverse effects on the physical, psychological and socio-economic aspects of an individual.

Physical and health effects
Drug abuse alters the functioning of the body and causes damage to the central nervous system and major body organs. Effects on the central nervous system can be exhibited in behavioral changes portrayed by an individual. Health effects of drugs can be both short-term and long-term. Short-term effects include mood swings, drowsiness, dysphoria, slurred speech, blurred vision, increased heart rate, nausea and vomiting.

Long-term health effects are pronounced in the major organs especially the heart, lungs and kidneys. General long-term effects include lack of muscular co-ordination, cardiac diseases, anorexia, memory loss, etc. Effects on these organs leads to development of substance-specific diseases. These are diseases that develop from accumulation of toxic compounds in different body organs, dependent on the substance in abuse.

Abuse of alcohol mainly affects the liver. The effects are progressive; beginning with accumulation of fats in the liver, inflammation and consequently liver cirrhosis. Cirrhosis causes jaundice, obstruction of bile ducts and scarring (Minesh Khatri, WebMD Medical Reference, 2017).
Inhalants are associated with damage to the lungs, causing respiratory failure due to impact of persistent introduction of toxic chemicals into the lungs. Chemicals inhaled also affect the nervous system causing sensory disorders and mental diseases (Dr. Des Corrigan, Journal: An Garda

Siochana Management, 1995. pg. 11-17.)

Tobacco and marijuana cause lung disease including lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as heart disease. Cocaine and opiates are associated with breakdown of the central nervous system, causing hallucinations, psychosis, paranoia, strokes and seizures.
Drug abuse during pregnancy results in maternal deaths, fetal and infant morbidity (Krzysztof Kuczkowski, Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 2007. Vol. 19 pg 578-585.)
Health effects can also be in form of technique-specific diseases, associated with HIV/AIDS and other infections that can be contracted during administration of drugs. Sharing of needles and syringes during administration of drugs can lead to contraction of HIV/AIDS, gangrene and Viral Hepatitis- B,C and D (Dr. Des Corrigan, Journal: An Garda Siochana Management, 1995. pg. 11-17).

Psychological effects
Continuous drug abuse arises from the compulsive need to use drugs for recreation or to combat mental illness like depression and anxiety. The compulsive need for use causes redirection of mental ability from normal activities in an individual’s life. The individual focuses less on normal activities and more use of the drugs and how to obtain them. This can cause withdrawal, anxiety and depression. Other effects include irrational behavior and increased irritability, loss of interest in one’s previous hobbies and recreational activities, poor judgment and self-centeredness. Individuals are also more likely to pressure others into drug use (Kamlesh Sahu & Soma Sahu, Paper: Substance abuse causes and consequences, 2011).

Socio-economic effects
Withdrawal as a result of drug abuse leads to alienation of drug users from their friends, families and peers. Irrational behavior and increased irritability can contribute to strains in families and peer groups. Individuals struggle to contribute positively to the running and activities of the family, schools and community at large. Irresponsibility develops as a result of drug use, interfering with the social relationships between an individual and those around them.
To maintain drug use, abusers require finances to acquire the drugs. This results in misuse of funds, causing economic/ financial strain on individuals and families. Some individuals turn to theft to acquire the funds needed to acquire drugs (Kamlesh Sahu & Soma Sahu, Paper: Substance abuse causes and consequences, 2011).
Drug abuse among parents is a leading cause of poor parenting and upbringing. Negligence of children and their needs is common in such cases, which may result in illness and deaths of children. Increase in numbers of street children may also arise as neglected children choose to run to the streets to try provide for their basic needs. Negligence also results in child labor, school dropouts, psychological and mental effects on children as well as adoption of drug abuse tendencies by children from their parents.
Drug abusers struggle to acquire and keep jobs as they are poor in managing and carrying out work-related tasks. Individuals are incapable of maintaining proper working relationships, often resulting in loss of jobs (Kamlesh Sahu & Soma Sahu, Paper: Substance abuse causes and consequences, 2011). Truancy among school going individuals is common, as they skip classes to go use recreational drugs. This can lead to poor grades, prostitution, involvement in gangs and crime.

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