Drug Abuse and its Impact on the Individual, Family, and Society Marcy Harris
Union Institute and University
Drug abuse is a disease which not only affects the addict, but also touches the family, friends, and society at large. Drug abuse affects the addict and their family and friends both emotionally and financially. The relationships between the addict and family and friends can become very strained, but it can also cause them to become closer. The cost of drug abuse extends to society, left with paying financial costs of increased healthcare, crime and overcrowded jails. As a society, we need to look at the widespread effect of this disease and see what can be done to reduce the emotional and financial costs to the addicts, families and society at large.
Does Drug Abuse Affect Only the Addict?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (2012) defines drug addiction as “a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the drug addict and those around them.” However, these “consequences” do not only affect the addict. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University states it best in their paper, “Family Matters: Substance Abuse and The American Family” (2005, March), “Anyone who has watched a family member struggle with substance abuse or addiction – whether to tobacco, alcohol, illicit or prescription drugs – knows how painful and disruptive it can be to family life. Addiction does not begin and end with the abuser; it sends shock waves through an entire family unit. The reach of substance abuse also extends to schools, communities, health and welfare agencies, the justice systems and to society at large. We all shoulder the costs.” Consequences of Drug Abuse to the Addict
There are many consequences to the addict, both financial and emotional. There are three ways financially: employment, healthcare, and the cost of rehabilitation. If an addict does not currently have a job, they will have no possibilities to support themselves as well as their family and conceivably turn to criminal activity to support their habit. Without having a job, the likelihood of being able to afford the cost of healthcare and rehabilitation treatment will be slim.
According to The Clean Slate (2011), the average cost of drug treatment for a 28 day stay is $15,491 to $27,399. The treatment centers that offer on-site detox run at the higher end of the cost, while the non-detox centers the lower end. The average cost per day is $898. With cost like this, if the addict does not have healthcare, it is almost impossible to get treatment.
It is impossible to put a dollar figure on the emotional cost of drug addiction on the addict. The addict runs the risk of losing many things in life due to addiction, such as family relationships, friends, health, jobs and self-respect. The addiction can cause the addict to commit acts that he would never consider if not under the influence, like stealing and lying. Lying to and stealing from family and friends can cause a lack of trust and, in turn, the loss of those relationships. Without those relationships and support, recovery will be a hard road without a support system. Consequences of Drug Abuse to the Addict’s Family
Families can be faced with enormous financial burden when they have an addict in the family. Costs can hit from all angles. If the loved one is arrested, there are court costs, lawyers, bail bond and jail commissary. The costs for these items, depending on the seriousness of the drug offense can run a family anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 per an offense. At this point, the addict does not have the money, so the family has to make the tough decision. If they have the money, is it in the best interest of the addict to bail them out? If an addict is lucky enough to have a supportive family that are financially able and trust the addict to abide by the...
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