This is a wonderful question, as we so often hear “drugs are bad,” but we know little about how manifold the effects can be. Drug abuse (formally called “substance use disorder”) involves the abuse of any substance, including alcohol and tobacco, whose consumption can compromise physical or behavioral health. To answer your question, let’s investigate the specific physical and behavioral issues at risk with illegal drug abuse.
The first is an obvious one; because illicit substances are, by definition, illegal, users risk severe fines or jail time. In New York and Texas, illicit drugs possession can result in 20 years in prison, and in Washington, the fines can be as steep as $10,000 for heroin.
The next risk posed by illegal drug use is physical. Specifically, regular use of certain drugs puts users at risk for lung disease, cardiovascular problems, cancer, or HIV.
Third, drug use can cause truancy or dereliction of duties at work. The sleep deprivation or compromised mental state resulting from drug use makes drug users stand out as especially poor performers (or perpetual truants) at work. Financial difficulties also result from the cost of drugs.
Fourth, drug use can pose difficulties getting a job in the first place, as many employers require drug tests. Failure to procure a job can put someone in difficult financial straits and even result in homelessness and other conditions from which it is hard to recover.
Fifth, mental health almost always suffers with drug use. Anxiety, depression, and insomnia are common mental health issues that commonly attend substance use disorders.
Sixth, substance use disorders damage the lives of the friends, family, and acquaintances of users. For example, if an individual uses an illegal substance, it is likely to strain relationships with people who find it difficult to countenance their friend’s behavior. Furthermore, they may not be willing to risk the legal ramifications of association with their friend’s illegal behavior.