Drug abuse has been an almost constant problem in the United States since the ‘free love’ movement of the 1960’s. Society and government has tried different ways to shut down the flow of illegal substances into America’s streets as each new generation of teenagers and college students discover and begin experimenting with new and old drugs alike. On a government website, DrugAbuse.gov, the Federal government is now attempting to educate Americans about the serious health effects of illegal drugs. Here is a list of 10 different ways that drugs can damage our bodies.
Drug abuse of heroin, cocaine, steroids and methamphetamine lower the immune system which makes a person more susceptible to sicknesses of all types. Worse still, drug abuse is typically associated with risky behaviors like unsafe sex and needle sharing. Together these factors increase the risk of developing diseases like HIV, Hepatitis and many other infectious diseases.
Because of the way that many drugs accelerate or decelerate the heart to abnormal rates there is a higher risk of heart attacks and other coronary heart problems. Researchers also have found a long term connection between almost all drugs and cardiovascular problems. Injection drugs can also lead to collapsed veins and bacterial infections to the blood vessels and heart valves that lead to serious heart problems.
Cocaine, GHB, ketamine, heroin, inhalants, marijuana, nicotine, PCP and prescription drugs can lead to numerous lung problems. Smoking cigarettes can lead to emphysema, bronchitis and lung cancer. Marijuana smoke can also cause respiratory problems. Other drugs can also cause breathing to slow and can even block air from entering the lungs.
Cocaine, GHB, heroin, LSD, MDMA, nicotine and prescription drugs can cause nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain shortly after use. In the long term these drugs can cause inflammation of the stomach, chronic constipation, abdominal bloating and liver damage. These drugs might also cause gastrointestinal related cancer, like liver or stomach cancer.
Inhalants, MDMA, PCP and steroids can stunt growth in teenagers. These drugs can also cause severe cramping and weakened or damaged muscles.
Heroin, inhalants, MDMA, and PCP have been found to cause kidney damage and failure. Drug abuse hurts the kidneys by heating up the body and damaging muscles. The estimated annual cost of treating someone with damaged or failed kidneys is approximately $50,000.
Heroin, inhalants and steroids are recognized by the body as poisons. It is the liver’s job to protect the body from harmful substances so when these drugs are being abused the liver’s job becomes much more difficult.
Cocaine, GHB, Rohypnol, inhalants, marijuana, MDMA, Methamphetamine, nicotine and prescription stimulants can cause seizures, stroke and widespread brain damage. These drugs can also cause changes in gene expression and brain circuitry that lead to problems with memory, attention and decision making.
Mental Health Effects
Cocaine, inhalants, ketamine, marijuana, MDMA, methamphetamines and prescription drugs can deplete chemicals in the brain that control the emotion and mood. Chronic use of these drugs can cause permanent or long-lasting changes that can lead to paranoia, depression, aggression and hallucinations.
Steroid abuse can disrupt the body’s natural production of hormones. Steroids can cause infertility and can shrink the testicles in men and can cause masculinization, like facial hair, in women.
About the Author: Hyrum Taffer is an Oklahoma native and freelance writer with a great deal of experience in drug addiction/recovery. He helps run an Oklahoma drug rehab. Through much personal experience and a lot of research, Hyrum hopes others can benefit from his writing.