Addiction to substances affects not only the individual, family but society as a whole.
On the Individual
Addictions lead to an increase in risk behavior such as having sex with commercial sexual workers, having sex without using condoms. Sharing needles while fixing. Both these activities result in the spread of diseases like STDs, HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C etc. This further weakens the social fabric as more and more young blood gets afflicted by various ailments due to the risk behaviors enhanced by addictions that dull the sensorium and rationalization capabilities.
Because the purity and dosage of illegal drugs are uncontrolled, drug overdose is a constant risk
Many drug users engage in criminal activity, such as burglary and prostitution, to raise the money to buy drugs, and some drugs, especially alcohol, are associated with violent behavior.
Effects on the Family
– The user’s preoccupation with the substance, plus its effects on mood and performance, can lead to marital problems and poor work performance or dismissal.
– Destructive patterns of co-dependency can develop amongst family members.
– Pregnant drug users, because of the drugs themselves or poor self-care in general, bear a much higher rate of low birth-weight babies than the average. Many drugs (e.g., crack and heroin) cross the placental barrier, resulting in addicted babies who go through withdrawal soon after birth, and fetal alcohol syndrome can affect children of mothers who consume alcohol during pregnancy.
– Children with substance-abusing parents are also at higher risk of physical abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse. As an example, it has been estimated that up to 75% of all incest incidents involve use of alcohol on the part of the perpetrator [Thompson, 1990].
– Children of substance abusers can take to substance abuse themselves in order to cope.
Effects On Society
Productivity and increased medical costs to society.
80 percent of all prison incarcerations; 75 percent of all divorces; 65 percent of all child abuse cases; 55 percent of all domestic assaults; half or more of all accidental deaths from fire, falls and drowning; half of all traffic fatalities; 40 percent of work-related fatal injuries; 35 percent of all rapes; and one-third of all suicides.(Governor’s Task Force on Substance Abuse, 1998)
It affects the person’s productivity and efficiency as it takes away his working hours resulting in absenteeism at work. This consequently results in loss of man hours, affecting the productivity of the company and consequently the economy of the society.
Loss of job results in financial instability in the family resulting in a breakdown of the family structure.
There is Loss of life and limb resulting from drunken driving.
However, one has to understand that when any substance usage reaches the stage of addiction it is the substance that controls the individual and not the other way around and the progress to addiction can be so insidious that it is too late before one knows it. Thus what a person addicted to substance use requires is compassion , love and understanding ; at the same time being aware to not enable the addiction but to motivate the person to do something about it ie take the help of a rehabilitation facility to help the person to go beyond a life of addiction.
Anatta Humanversity is one such facility where compassion, love, care and confidentiality is primary towards the client.