Social Impacts of Drug Abuse

Social Impacts of Drug Abuse
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Social Impacts of Drug Abuse
Drug abuse is a global menace as it negatively affects the social, economic, and
environmental aspects of human life. The problem may contribute to international tensions such
as rapid changes in political alignments and community cohesiveness. Additionally, drug abuse
leads to increased cases of crime and violence in a community. Surprisingly, the macroeconomic
environment that spurs the growth and development of legal businesses in the world provide an
opportunity for drug peddlers to thrive. It offers them a chance to expand their activities to a
global scale, especially in the developing countries. Currently, the negative impacts of drug
trafficking and abuse are sufficient to warrant strict measures to curb the vice. The effects of
drug abuse on social realms cannot be overlooked as they cause secondary problems such as
family disintegration, crime, and health deterioration.
Social Impacts of Drug Abuse
The family setup is perceived as the basic source of unity and support for its members as
it promotes stability as well as generational continuity. Economic, social, and technological
changes play a fundamental role in shaping the values, attitudes, and behaviors of children (Wu,
Cheung, Ku, & Hung, 2013). One of the problems of socialization through family ties is children
exposure to drug abuse during their formative years. For example, if a child is exposed to the use
of marijuana from his/her peers or family members, the habit is more likely to advance to
adulthood if necessary measures are not taken. Drug abuse has several adverse effects on specific
vulnerable groups. In particular, women are the most affected by issues caused by men who
abuse drugs. The vice leads to violence, deprivation of education among children, family
instability, challenges in maintaining interpersonal relationships, and increased risks of sexually
transmitted illnesses such as HIV (Hanson, Cannon, Burton, & Giraud, 2013). Children suffer
the most if their parents abuse drugs as they experience neglect and malnutrition besides being
predisposed to harsh environments likely to breed antisocial behaviors such as crime.
There are various types of addictive substances common in both developed and
developing countries. All of them have common characteristics as they alter the way the human
brain works as well as the overall behavioral predisposition. The problem of drug abuse, as
indicated by the current statistics regarding the number of deaths, warrants urgent intervention.
For example, at least 200,000 deaths occur yearly as a result of intravenous drug use (Wu et al.,
2013). Most users share syringes and needles while injecting drugs which expose them to
HIV/AIDS. Additionally, expectant mothers who indulge in the vice either experience still births
or miscarriages. In fact, most children belonging to such parents are victims of irreversible health
conditions such as retarded growth. Consequently, they cause considerable strains on the already
overburdened pediatric health system (Richardson, Wood, & Kerr, 2013). Drugs cause damages
to the cognitive function of an individual which tends to increase crime rates.
Crime and drugs have a direct relationship. First, illegal production and distribution of
narcotics are tantamount to delinquency. Secondly, substance abuse increases the likelihood of
other non-drug related vices such as violence and robbery (Hanson et al., 2013). Finally, it
provides unscrupulous businesspersons or even politicians with an opportunity to generate
wealth. In one way or another, this encourages illegal activities such as money laundering.
Substance use and aberrant behavior are often related as the former leads to criminal activities.
The problem may attract social ills such as prostitution or extreme sexual pervasion, both of
which are serious crimes in some countries. Furthermore, cases of adolescent pregnancy are, to
some extent, related to the use of alcohol and other drugs. In particular, drug abuse, social
predilection, and criminal behavior have a close connection. It is known that heroin addicts are
mostly involved in crime in most parts of the world (Wu et al., 2013). In 2008, about 65% of
2,000 arrestees in the U.S. were incarcerated for drug abuse (Wu et al., 2013). A substantial
number of organized criminal groups and terrorists are directly or indirectly involved in illegal
drug business. Apart from that, addiction leads to increased levels of crime and violence as
individuals seek money to purchase drugs.
Work and Employment
As previously noted, drug abuse is more prevalent among the youth than in other age
groups. The major problem typically occurs when an individual joins the workforce. Notably, the
tendency to use drugs in the workplace is substantially dependent on the performance
requirements of a particular job. Drugs may cause disruptions in tasks that require a high level of
understanding and judgment, immediate memory, and constant attention (Richardson et al.,
2013). For example, cannabis disrupts an individual’s cognitive functions and increases response
time. Additionally, opiates trigger mood changes and impair psychomotor skills related to tasks
such as operating machinery (Volkow, Baler, Compton, & Weiss, 2014). For these reasons, the
relationship between drug abuse and job performance cannot be overlooked. It is believed that
substance abusers and alcoholics lead to more losses than sober employees. Time is a precious
resource that tends to be wasted when employees engage in drug use. In fact, workplace
absenteeism increases with substance abuse. This explains why most employees have been fired
due to their involvement in the vice.
Substance abuse is a major challenge affecting numerous sectors. It greatly impacts social
and economic aspects of human lives. The former is mostly affected as it touches on human life,
family, health, and security. Drug abuse affects women and children more than men. Evidently,
the vice leads to violence and family neglect besides straining interpersonal relationships. With
regard to health, substance abuse affects the well-being of individuals. Expectant mothers who
use such products expose their unborn babies to issues such as retarded growth. Apart from that,
drug abuse may cause an upsurge in criminal activities such a robbery with violence or murder.
Hanson, C. L., Cannon, B., Burton, S., & Giraud-Carrier, C. (2013). An exploration of social
circles and prescription drug abuse through Twitter. Journal of Medical Internet
Research, 15(9), 189. Retrieved from
Richardson, L., Wood, E., & Kerr, T. (2013). The impact of social, structural and physical
environmental factors on transitions into employment among people who inject
drugs. Social Science & Medicine, 76, 126-133. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.10.015
Volkow, N. D., Baler, R. D., Compton, W. M., & Weiss, S. R. (2014). Adverse health effects of
marijuana use. New England Journal of Medicine, 370(23), 2219-2227. doi:
Wu, A. M., Cheung, V. I., Ku, L., & Hung, E. P. (2013). Psychological risk factors of addiction
to social networking sites among Chinese smartphone users. Journal of Behavioral
Addictions, 2(3), 160-166. doi: 10.1556/JBA.2.2013.006

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