- EIC - http://www.eiconline.org -

Facts & Stats

Drug addiction is a brain disease. Although initial drug use might be voluntary, drugs of abuse have been shown to alter gene expression and brain circuitry, which in turn affect human behavior. Once addiction develops, these brain changes interfere with an individual’s ability to make voluntary decisions, leading to compulsive drug craving, seeking and use.

Drug-related deaths have more than doubled since the early 1980s (http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/medical-consequences-drug-abuse/mortality [1]). There are more deaths, illness, and disabilities from substance abuse than from any other preventable health condition. Today, one in four deaths is attributable to alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use.

In addition to the effects various drugs of abuse may have on specific organs of the body, many drugs produce global body changes such as dramatic changes in appetite and increases in body temperature, which may impact a variety of health conditions. Withdrawal from drug use also may lead to numerous adverse health effects, including restlessness, mood swings, fatigue, changes in appetite, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, cold flashes, diarrhea, and vomiting.

http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/medical-consequences-drug-abuse [2]

All drugs of abuse act in the brain to produce their euphoric effects; however some of them also have severe negative consequences in the brain such as seizures, stroke, and widespread brain damage that can impact all aspects of daily life. Drug use can also cause brain changes that lead to problems with memory, attention and decision-making.

http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/medical-consequences-drug-abuse/neurological-effects [3]

Consequences of Methamphetamine and Amphetamine Use:

A Connection Between Methamphetamine Use and HIV?

“Methamphetamine abuse is linked with HIV, Hepatitis C, and other sexually transmitted diseases, not only by the use of contaminated injection equipment, but also due to increased risky sexual behaviors.” – Dr. Nora Volkow, NIDA

Meth users have a higher prevalence of STDs (Semple 2004), have more high-risk sex (Rawson 2002, Farabee 2002), (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1525267/ [5] for the previous 2 points) use condoms less (Molitor 1998) and have more sexual partners than heroin users (Gibson 2002).

Consequences of Cocaine Use:

Consequences of Heroin Use:

Researchers have found a connection between the abuse of most drugs and adverse cardiovascular effects, ranging from abnormal heart rate to heart attacks. Injection drug use can also lead to cardiovascular problems such as collapsed veins and bacterial infections of the blood vessels and heart valves.

http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/medical-consequences-drug-abuse/cardiovascular-effects [7]

Chronic use of some drugs, such as heroin, inhalants and steroids, may lead to significant damage to the liver.

http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/medical-consequences-drug-abuse/liver-damage [8]

Consequences of Marijuana Use:

Drug abuse can lead to a variety of respiratory problems. Smoking cigarettes, for example, has been shown to cause bronchitis, emphysema and lung cancer. Marijuana smoke may also cause respiratory problems. The use of some drugs may also cause breathing to slow, block air from entering the lungs or exacerbate asthma symptoms.

http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/medical-consequences-drug-abuse/respiratory-effects [9]

Cigarette smoking is the most preventable cause of cancer in the U.S. Smoking cigarettes has been linked to cancer of the mouth, neck, stomach, and lung, among others. Smoking marijuana also exposes the lungs to carcinogens and can cause precancerous changes to the lungs similar to cigarette smoke.

http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/medical-consequences-drug-abuse/cancer [10]

Consequences of Steroid Use:

Steroid use during childhood or adolescence, resulting in artificially high sex hormone levels, can signal the bones to stop growing earlier than they normally would have, leading to short stature. Other drugs may also cause severe muscle cramping and overall muscle weakness.

http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/medical-consequences-drug-abuse/musculoskeletal-effects [11]

Consequences of MDMA (Ecstasy) Use:

Hidden Risk: Drug Purity

Other drugs chemically similar to MDMA, such as MDA (methylenedioxyamphetamine, the parent drug of MDMA) and PMA (paramethoxyamphetamine, associated with fatalities in the U.S. and Australia) are sometimes sold as ecstasy. These drugs can be neurotoxic or create additional health risks to the user.

Consequences of Prescription Drug Abuse: