A drug or alcohol addiction is not an uncommon problem in the United States. While many people who struggle with this disorder don’t view their use of drugs as a serious issue and characterize their substance abuse as recreational, it is important to understand that absolutely any drug use or abuse carries with it serious risks. Not only is there a risk for addiction, which can overtake and completely alter a person’s life for the worse, but there is also a risk of experiencing severely negative health effects. Drugs of any kind can take a serious toll on a person’s mind and body, the specifics of which vary by substance and method of ingestion, but the end result is often debilitating disease.

Health Effects of Marijuana

Marijuana is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the United States. Why? Many people think of it as a harmless drug. The truth is, however, that there is no such thing. No illicit substance is innocuous, and marijuana is no exception. It can pose serious risks to a person’s overall health and well-being.

Some of the known health consequences of marijuana use include:

  • Impaired short-term memory
  • Decreased attention span
  • Poor judgment and decision-making skills
  • Impaired coordination and balance, which can lead to accidents
  • Increased heart rate and increased risk of heart problems or heart attack soon after use
  • Increased risk of weight gain
  • Increased risk of developing depression, anxiety and other mental disorders
  • Chronic cough
  • Bronchitis
  • Increased risk of certain types of cancer

Health Effects of Cocaine

While the average person regards cocaine as a more serious drug than marijuana, many people still think of it as a party drug or recreational substance. However, cocaine use can be deadly, and it has been known to cause overdose in some users the very first time they try it.

The most common method of using cocaine is through snorting it in powder form, though it can also be injected or smoked. There is no safe way to use cocaine, however; all of the different methods of use carry risks with them.

Some of the health consequences associated with cocaine abuse are:

  • Rapid heartbeat and risk of heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Weight loss
  • Sleeping problems
  • Panic attacks
  • Anxiety
  • Damage to the nasal passages (when snorted)
  • Difficulty swallowing (when snorted)
  • GI problems
  • Increased risk of HIV (when injected)

Health Effects of Prescription Opioids

Not all drugs that are dangerous are illegal. In fact, many people in the United States suffer ill physical effects from the abuse of prescription drugs; opioids are among the most commonly abused prescription medications and, when abused, carry the following risks:

  • Increased risk of depressed respiration
  • Coma
  • Death
  • Slowing of the heart rate

The Most Serious Risk of All


Detox Local’s Periodic Table of Drug Addiction

From legal drugs like alcohol and stimulant medications to street drugs like heroin and synthetic substances, there is a wide range of substances that are abused in the US. The biggest health risk associated with their use? Addiction. Addiction steals innocent lives, ruins families, destroys quality of life, and often ends the life of the user prematurely.

The good news is that addicts can recover with the right help. If someone you love is struggling with a drug problem, contact us at Black Bear Lodge today. We can provide them with the comprehensive addiction treatment they need to make a comeback.