The Negative Effects of Substance Abuse Essay Sample

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According to the National Institution on Drug Abuse, fifty percent of Americans have a beloved one who is suffering from a drug abuse problem at any given time. (“The Stats of Drug Abuse”, 2012). Drug abuse is defined as the misuse of a substance, whether it is legal or illegal or even prescribed by a doctor. (“National Institute on Drug Abuse”, 2012). Alcohol and drugs have different side effects on different people, but they also have similar results. Alcohol and tobacco are considered to be addicting and fatal. Many drugs are illegal, but some can be legal. Alcohol and tobacco are legal in the United States, however all substances are addicting and end with health issues or death. (“National Institute On Drug Abuse”, 2012). The effects of alcohol depend on many different factors, including size, weight, age, and sex. When you drink alcohol, it is absorbed by the stomach, enters the bloodstream, and goes to all the tissues. The amount of food and alcohol consumed by the individual are factored in also. Low alcohol intake may affect a person by experiencing dizziness and talkativeness. Immediate effects of large amounts of alcohol include slurred speech, nausea and vomiting.

If you drink a small amount of alcohol, your judgment and coordination will be too impaired for you to drive safely. Continuous, heavy use of alcohol can lead to addiction or alcoholism. Addiction or alcoholism can lead to variety of aggressive acts, including domestic violence and child abuse. Long term effects of alcoholism combined with poor diet will cause permanent damage to vital organs such as your brain and liver. Abuse of alcohol will cause failure of handling major responsibilities dealing with work, family, school or the abuser will experience repeated situations that could be fatal. Abusers also have repeated legal problems. Withdrawal and physical changes happens when the drinker stops or decrease very heavy use of alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms may include shaking, sweating, rapid breathing or agitating. Hallucinations or convulsions could also occur when a drinker is going through withdrawals. Cigarettes and chewing tobacco are illegal in most United States ages under eighteen.

Nicotine is one of more than four thousand chemicals found in tobacco smoke and is the primary components that act on the brain. (University Of Phoenix, 2010). Nicotine is highly addictive and the leading preventable cause of disease, disability and the possibility of death. It is absorbed through the skin and mucus lining in the nose and mouth or by inhalation into the lungs. Depending on the amount used, nicotine can reach peak levels in the bloodstream and brain quickly. Smoking tobacco is the chief avoidable cause of death in our society. Tar in cigarettes increase the smokers’ chance of a variety of cancers, lung diseases such as emphysema or even death. Smoking while pregnant has serious risk for the unborn child. Spontaneous abortion, preterm labor, low birth weight and fetal and infant deaths are more likely to occur when you’re pregnant. (University Of Phoenix, 2010). Exposure to second hand smoke is believed to cause heart disease and respiratory tract infections. Cocaine is a powerful, addictive stimulant that attacks the central nervous system. The powerful stimulant is produced from the leaves of the South American coco plant.

Cocaine is considered to be on of the greatest drug threats in the world because of the violence and physical effects associated with it. Cocaine can be snorted, injected or smoked. It has been called coke, blow, rock or crack. Cocaine usually makes users feel euphoric and energetic. Moderate dosages of cocaine can cause disturbances in the users heart rhythm, elevated heart, respiratory rates and blood pressure. It will cause the users pupils to become dilated, they could loose coordination, or experience blurred vision and anxiety. As the users high wears off, they become depressed and edgy. This begins a cycle of craving more to stay high. It will continue to have a negative impact on the users’ life because the only thing that matters is your next fix. Prolonged cocaine snorting can result in ulcers in the mucus membrane of the nose. (University Of Phoenix, 2012). Crack is a form of cocaine that is a ready to use freebase and can be smoked. Compulsive cocaine use can develop more rapidly if the substance is smoked. Smoking allows high dosages of cocaine to reach the brain quickly and brings an immediate and intense high.

It produces an aggressive paranoid behavior in users. People addicted to crack or cocaine often do risky things they later regret such as violence, car accidents, falls, burns, and drowning. Users also tend to spend all their money and are involved in other acts that could be illegal to support their habit. In their pursuit to feed their addiction, users hurt the people around them and result in them being alone. Cocaine related deaths are often a result of cardiac arrest or seizures followed by respiratory arrest or death. (“National Institute on Drug Abuse”, 2012) Prescription drug abuse is taking a prescription drug that is not prescribed for you, or taking the drug for reasons or amounts other than what was prescribed. Prescriptions drugs are the second most accessible drug available after marijuana. Prescription drug abuse has been viewed as the “safe” high because the drugs are prescribed. Commonly abused drugs include opiods such as Vicodin and Oxycontin for pain. Central nervous System depressants such as Xanax and Valium are used to treat anxiety and sleeping disorders. Stimulants such as Ritalin and Concerta are prescribed to treat ADHD and narcolepsy.

The addictive potential of using prescription drugs are the same as using illegal drugs such as cocaine and heroin. The consequences of abusing these drugs can be severe or fatal. When a user abuses opiods, they feel euphoric, drowsiness, constipation, and depressed breathing. They could also experience a numbing effect. Depressants cause a user to become sedated and it slows down brain function. Abusing stimulants will cause the user to feel euphoric and energized. Abuse of these drugs could also be associated with hostility, anxiety and paranoia. The abuser is also in high risk of cardiovascular failure, seizures or high body temperatures. Dependency and withdrawal symptoms of all prescription drugs can be severe or fatal. According to “Teen Drug Overdose Statistics” (2009), about one hundred and fifty thousand teens between the ages of thirteen and twenty four over dose from substance abuse each year. Many people begin experimenting with substances as teens. They are usually introduced to different substances by peer pressure, the availability of the particular substance or they try it out of curiosity.

Many teens that have family members that abuse substances are more likely to experiment with substances and later become substance abusers. Family history also influence a persons likelihood of abusing substances such a chaotic home environment, lack of parental nurturing and ineffective parenting. Substance abuse increases the risk of many different life stressors and conditions if left untreated. Symptoms of substance abuse usually result in potential dangerous situations and may result in social and relationship problems. Parents also need to be on the look out for symptoms and signs that their teens might be using drugs or addicted to them. Acting with aggression, sleeping more than usual, not eating or eating lots, weight loss or weight gain, struggling in school, hanging with a new group of friends, going out late and not fulfilling their responsibilities are some indicators that your teen might be experimenting with drugs Substance abuse affects people differently, but will end with the same results.

Substance abusers usually hurt the people around them and end up alone in their pursuit to support their habit. If you know someone that abuses substances, there are ways to get help for them. There are drug abuse counselor hotlines that are twenty four hours, seven days a week if the abuser needs someone to speak to. You can advise your loved one to reach out and call 1-866-431-7584 to help them get their lives back (Substance Abuse, Symptoms and Treatment. (2012). There are also drug rehabilitation resources and referral services to get your loved one help. The first step is for the abuser to admit to having the problem and believing that they are strong enough to get the help.


Hasdemir, H., Comert, N., & Alper, A. (2012). Multi Drug Abuse and Sinus Node Dysfunction. Health Med, 6(4), 3.

National Institute On Drug Abuse. (2012). Retrieved from

The Stats on Drug Abuse. (2012).Retrieved from

Drug Abuse and Addiction. (2012). Retrieved from

Substance Abuse, Symptoms and Treatment. (2012). Retrieved from

Teen Drug Overdose Statistics. (2009). Retrieved from

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