Here is an example of the effects of drug addiction. An individual tries drugs or alcohol. The drugs or alcohol appear to solve their problems and in turn they feel better. Now that they seem better able to deal with life, the drugs or alcohol they previously used become invaluable to them. The individual looks to drugs or alcohol as the cure for their unwanted feelings and problems. The painkilling effects of drugs or alcohol become the solution to their emotional or physical discomfort. Inadvertently the drug or alcohol now becomes invaluable because it helped them feel better. This release from the individual's unwanted feelings and problems is the main reason they uses drugs or alcohol a second or third time. It is then just a matter of time before they become fully addicted and lose their ability to control their drug or alcohol use. Drug addiction then results from excessive or continued abuse of physiologically or physically habit-forming drugs in an attempt to resolve or escape from the underlying symptoms of discomfort or unhappiness.
The effects of drug addiction are felt on many levels: personal, friends and family, and societal. Individuals who use drugs and alcohol experience a wide array of physical effects due to their drug and alcohol addiction that they had never anticipated. One such example is the depression an individual feels following their use of cocaine. Additional effects of drug addiction include tolerance, withdrawal, sickness, overdoseage, and resorting to a life of crime.
Family and friends feel the effects of drug addiction as well. 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. The effects of drug addiction can disrupt family life and create destructive patterns of codependency, that is, the spouse or whole family, out of love or fear of consequences, inadvertently enables the user to continue using drugs by covering up, supplying money, or denying there is a problem.
The effects of drug addiction on society manifests itself through lost work time and inefficiency. Drug users are more likely than nonusers to have occupational accidents, endangering themselves and those around them. Over half of the highway deaths in the United States involve alcohol. Drug-related crime can disrupt neighborhoods due to violence among drug dealers, threats to residents, and the crimes of the addicts themselves. In some neighborhoods, younger children are recruited as lookouts and helpers because of the lighter sentences given to juvenile offenders, and guns have become commonplace among children and adolescents.