I think that you could explore many dimensions to this aspect of substance abuse. On one hand, I think that substance abuse ends up creating challenges to a legal system. The prosecution of drug based offenses takes up a great deal of manpower on both enforcement ends and on legal ends, creating situations of court clog of cases. At the same time, I think that the result of these drug enforcement cases such as incarceration creates a great impact on the prisons and jails of a particular community. Health care services also experience adverse impacts through substance abuse. Consider this in terms of the visits to local hospitals and health care provider services:
In 2006, the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) reported that of 113 million hospital ED visits--1,742,887 (1.5%)--were related to drug misuse or drug abuse. An estimated 31 percent of these visits involved illicit drugs only, 28 percent involved CPDs, and 13 percent involved illicit drugs in combination with alcohol.
This helps to illuminate how substance abuse impacts the community, at large, in terms of taking valuable health care providing services. Finally, I think that substance abuse can impact the environmental condition of a community. The growth of certain plants for narcotic use can impact the ecological standing of a particular area, along with the mixture of drugs such as "meth" labs. These are examples of how substance abuse can impact communities from an environmental point of view.