Potential Consequences of Drug Abuse

People have many different reasons for abusing illicit drugs. Sometimes the consequences are not what the person anticipated. Drugs can affect the body, the mind, and relationships with others. They can get people in trouble with the law. Sometimes they cost a person his or her life. A person who uses drugs may not face all of the following consequences, but each is possible.


Addiction is a disease in which a person becomes physically and psychologically dependent on a drug, to the point that the person needs it in order to function. While there is no cure, there are different methods of effectively treating the condition. This can be a difficult process, however, and it is better to avoid becoming addicted in the first place.

Physical Changes

Using drugs can cause physical changes in the brain. Because of the toxicity of many drugs, they can kill brain cells. Brain cells that die cannot grow back. Drugs can also cause changes in connections within the brain, which can affect memory and impair thinking.

Drug use can also cause changes in other parts of the body. They can damage vital systems and organs including the liver, kidneys, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems. A person can minimize these physical health problems by getting help for drug addiction as soon as possible. Otherwise, the damage can progress to the point where it is irreversible.


Over time, people build up a tolerance to certain drugs, meaning that they need to take more to experience the same effects. Taking too much of a controlled substance can cause an overdose. Symptoms can vary depending on the type of drug taken, but essentially an overdose causes the body to shut down. This can prove fatal if the overdose is not treated.

Legal and Other Consequences

The possession and use of many drugs is illegal, meaning that people may face conviction, incarceration, or fines if caught. Substance use can also impair judgment, causing people to make poor decisions to do things that are illegal, such as stealing money to pay for more drugs. Poor decision-making due to drug use can also put people at risk for infection with HIV/AIDS from sharing dirty needles or having unprotected sex.

Although addiction is a disease, many jurisdictions still treat it as a criminal justice issue. A lawyer, like a drug lawyer from the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright, may be able to help you deal with legal consequences associated with drug abuse.