Substance abuse can significantly affect an individual’s social life. From family and friends to romantic ties, drug use can ultimately end relationships that were once valued. Beyond one’s immediate circle, their community can be affected by drug use and drug distribution. Some of the common social effects of drug abuse include:

  • Relationship issues: As mentioned above, drug addiction can cause massive chaos within all relationships a user has and beyond. The use of drugs and alcohol can often lead to behaviors that are not typical for a loved one. Some drug abusers even lie and cheat their own family to get their next drug fix. Their drug abuse distorts trust, the foundational component of any relationship, leading to mistrust and conflict. Codependency is also very common within an abusers circle so drug use typically ramps up those types of relationship dynamics. Scottsdale Recovery and Detox Center® understands these dynamics and offers Family Workshops to address them and help support the family as well as the individual seeking recovery.
  • Isolation: Social isolation is often seen when drug abuse is present. Many drug users will stop attending their normal social activities and withdraw as they seek out more drugs, use drugs, and then start the cycle again after coming down from their high. A drug user’s social circle can also change to include those who are also using drugs like they do, giving them more access to drugs and a sense of belonging in some cases.
  • Legal Issues: As drugs can influence a person’s behavior and mental state, problems with the law can arise. From DUI’s to being high and entering into conflicts, arrests are common among drug users. These issues can have long term effects that affect housing and employment as well as many other factors for an individual’s future.
  • Financial downfall: Drugs can be costly and many people who are addicted to drugs financially pour into them. Just as their social life becomes compromised, their employment can also lapse. Drugs like fentanyl and tranq literally distort mental function so money management is another financial factor that is compromised beyond health.
  • Stigma: People who struggle with addiction to drugs often face judgment and discrimination because there is a stigma associated with drugs. Many non-drug users view those with addiction issues or even alcoholism as morally failing. Others view these issues as a medical condition that requires different forms of recovery methods, person to person. Many drug abusers don’t access care because of the discrimination and that within itself is problematic. Drug users’ condition can quickly become out of hand and lead to overdose and fatality or a life-long road of struggle if they do not get proper recovery care.
  • Widespread effects: Drug abuse contributes to increases in crime, homelessness, and medical care costs. This affects communities worldwide. Take for instance the opioid crisis that is wreaking havoc, now combining xylazine with opioids like fentanyl and heroin, communities are facing a zombie land, as their streets are riddled with users having rotting flesh and needing amputations in some cases. The spread of HIV and hepatitis as well as other infectious diseases is yet another effect that can devastate communities.

Drug use, alcohol abuse, and addiction overall is a complex issues that does have devastating social effects. The recovery process should always include a comprehensive plan that looks at each individual’s addiction through what their personally need to stay sober. Treatment plan, on going recovery support and prevention of relapse should always be in place to help support long-term sobriety. Many drug users have other social issues such as trauma and poverty that need to be addressed or stabilized in order for them to thrive.

Many of Scottsdale Recovery and Detox Center® staff have been in drug or alcohol users’ shoes themselves but have come back a champion in sobriety. Our staff understands the social components of drug abuse and this makes our team relatable in supporting those with addiction. We remain Arizona’s premier addiction center and have been serving those in our community as well as nationwide for over a decade. If you or a loved one need support please connect with our team by visiting or call 1-888-NODRUGS


Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center® holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.