Drug addiction takes a toll. It can hurt every single person around you when you’re using, even if you feel that your use is controlled. What can keep a person in the dark about their own addiction is denial – whether they insist that they only use drugs in social situations, or whatever the claim, frequent drug use is one of the easiest-to-spot signs of addiction. Sometimes the frequent use is focused on party settings and social gatherings, but often, it’s unregulated at home.

What many people fail to consider when experimenting with drugs is the effects of the drugs on other aspects of their life. When you’re using drugs regularly, whether you’re using them with people, or whether you’re using them alone, there is always the danger of overdose, or poisoning from unknown substances. Particularly when dealing with street drugs that are a mix of other drugs (like Oxycodone and Grey Death), it is imperative that you understand and evaluate the risks that come with experimentation. Putting unknown substances in your body is an easy way to find yourself in a hospital, or worse. If you’ve noticed that you have a difficult time being without drugs and alcohol, it may be time to consider drug rehabilitation. Drug rehabilitation, though, is just one step to taking more control of your life. When a person becomes addicted to drugs, they rarely suffer alone.

Families

the hurt of addictionFamilies of addicted people are usually the first to weather the consequences and hurt of drug addiction. When a person is addicted, it can be difficult for them to care for themselves. Some drug addictions have the unintended effect of causing a person to care less about their cleanliness, appearance, and personal hygiene. An addicted person might feel less inclined to bathe, or have dental problems because of the chemicals in their drug of choice. The level of care needed for a person living with addiction mirrors the level of care needed for a sick person – addiction is an illness in and of itself, but the added burden of its continuation can make families vulnerable to financial and emotional distress.

Whether the addicted person is a parent, child, or sibling, families of people living with addiction often go through a difficult time as they manage what is happening to someone they love. There are no winners when someone becomes addicted, and families’ losses can be especially painful – with the high cost of insurance and the emotional toll taken on a family, there is nothing to be gained by addiction in a family.

Self

The physical, emotional, and psychological hurt of drug addiction on an addicted person is difficult to witness, but easy to measure. When the body becomes addicted to something, even to something that seems to be harmless, like sugar, you feel the cravings. Smokers regularly experience cravings for cigarettes, and meth users crave meth. Some drugs, like heroin, can be so powerful that they cause a person living with addiction to dedicate most of their waking hours to getting and using the drug. Besides the intense cravings, it is common for people abusing drugs to neglect choosing wholesome, healthy food, and regular exercise can be impossible for many people living with addiction. Addiction can hurt your mental and physical health, and some of the effects may not be reversible. Extended use of marijuana can permanently lower sperm count in men. Women who abuse cocaine can lose their ability to conceive entirely. And a single use of Flakka can permanently affect a person’s central nervous system, in addition to causing extreme psychological problems.

Drug addiction isn’t a simple speed bump in the present – drug abuse can have serious repercussions that can hurt anyone’s future.

Community

The effect that drug addiction can have on communities is devastating. In several pockets of the United States, drug addiction is responsible for a number of violent occurrences, including murder. Overdose deaths, particularly from opiates and alcohol, creep up yearly, with a few years every now and then when usage drops due to extraneous factors. One such example is a poppy shortage that occured in Afghanistan shortly before a recent surge.

Theft inevitably rises in drug-addicted communities. From casualty-free break-ins to kidnapping for ransom, getting money for drugs can become a steady goal for people living with addiction. What’s worse is that a number of these robberies are committed while the suspect is high on the drugs for which they’re stealing money or items to sell. While theft of household items is a common method of getting money for drugs, but drug dealers and gangs have their ways, too.

When drug dealers occupy a neighborhood, they may bring dangerous criminals with them. Homes where drugs are sold and used can become hotbeds for other criminal activity. Gangs, many of whom earn money by selling drugs, can easily start turf wars with other gangs, and initiate shoot-outs with responding police. Either scenario spells trouble for residents of a community rocked by drugs and addiction. Visitors to the area are also at risk in this type of environment, as stray bullets from shootouts, robbery committed by people living with addiction, and violent cases of mistaken identity are all common in neighborhoods were drug abuse and addiction is common.

Strangers in Other Countries

A rarely-discussed and rarely-seen victim of drug addiction in the United States is a victim that doesn’t live in the United States. Drugs enter the United States from a variety of places, with top producers including China, Colombia, Mexico, Honduras, and Russia. Much of the production and distribution is managed by huge, wealthy criminal organizations, crime families, and cartels. Mexico’s drug cartels are among the most notorious in the world, with 2017 registering nearly thirty thousand murders carried out by various Mexican drug cartels. Those victims – dead from a variety of methods, including beatings and beheadings – are some of the unacknowledged victims of the American drug epidemic. There is little consideration for the lives taken from everyday people in exchange for the ever-reaching and expansive greed of these criminal organizations, and often, governments don’t feel empowered to stop them. Drug rehabilitation is more than saving yourself and your family from grief – it’s also about stopping a cycle of violence and corruption that destroys innocent people.

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