How Drug Use Affects the World

Posted on :  August 28th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Drug abuse affects more than just the small communities where drugs are sold and used. The entire world is affected by drug use. Since nearly 200 million people use illegal drug (not alcohol and tobacco) all over the world, it is easy to imagine the costs related to accidents, health care, and policing.

Studies have been conducted to investigate the world wide effects of drugs like opioids, cocaine, amphetamines, and marijuana. The numbers included information about dependency, fatalities, and medical problems. These drugs were picked for the studies because they are most commonly abused and there are so many numbers available all over the world.

The studies showed that between 125 and 200 million people use marijuana. Between 15 and 55 million people use amphetamines. Nearly 20 million people use opioids and cocaine. Injected drugs are used by as many as 21 million people. Five percent of people between the ages of 15 and 64 use illegal drugs. These statistics are shocking, especially when you consider that one out of every 20 people you know are statistically drug users.

When it comes to health problems relating to drug abuse, overdose by death is an obvious problem. Other major problems include cardiovascular and pulmonary problems like lung disease, heart attacks, and breathing issues. People also suffer from kidney and liver disorders as well as mental illnesses due to drug abuse. These health problems tend to come with large price tags.

Keep in mind that these numbers do not include people who use tobacco or drink alcohol and currently, over 16 million people in the United States, alone, have health problems directly related to tobacco use. When it comes to alcohol abuse, nearly 2 million people around the world die from it. Illegal drug abuse takes about 250,000 people globally each year. Lives are significantly shortened by drug abuse and experts estimate that nearly 2 million years of life are lost annually. This is a sad statistic because so many young people use drugs and they usually die from them, too.

When people do not die from drug use, their health care costs rapidly run out of control. The price tag extends into the billions of dollars. Caring from chronic health problems involves regular stays in hospitals and visits to emergency rooms. The costs include numerous prescription medications, too. Many people who suffer from problems relating to their drug addiction are unable to work, so they rely on the government to cover their medical expenses.

Drug use not only causes an increase in medical expenses, but it causes problems with work productivity. If one out of every twenty people uses drugs, it is likely that they use drugs at work. Employers who do any sort of drug testing do it because they suspect that their employees are using drugs. Employers have to spend money that could be used for other things on drug testing expenses. Accidents are more likely to happen when employees are using drugs, which can cause insurance rates to increase. Costs can quickly snowball.

Drug dependency is always a problem. At this time, there is no way to accurately find how many drug users develop a dependency. There is not a way to statistically and accurately predict what drug users will need health care and how much those costs could be. What statisticians and researchers can say is that the trend shows that health care costs due to drug use will increase, especially because the number of people who use illegal drugs continues to grow.

If you have any questions about drug use in our community, please contact us at We are happy to help.

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.