Substance Abuse

The effects of substance abuse on society.

What is substance abuse?

  1. overindulgence in, or dependence on an addictive substance, especially alcohol or drugs.

Who does it affect?

Family, Friends, Loved Ones, Yourself, and Society!
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How does it affect these people?

The effects of substance abuse frequently extend beyond the nuclear family. Extended family members may experience feelings of abandonment, anxiety, fear, anger, concern, embarrassment, or guilt; they may wish to ignore or cut ties with the person abusing substances. Some family members even may feel the need for legal protection from the person abusing substances. Moreover, the effects on families may continue for generations. Intergenerational effects of substance abuse can have a negative impact on role modeling, trust, and concepts of normative behavior, which can damage the relationships between generations. For example, a child with a parent who abuses substances may grow up to be an overprotective and controlling parent who does not allow his or her children sufficient autonomy.

Neighbors, friends, and coworkers also experience the effects of substance abuse because a person who abuses substances often is unreliable. Friends may be asked to help financially or in other ways. Coworkers may be forced to compensate for decreased productivity or carry a disproportionate share of the workload. As a consequence, they may resent the person abusing substances.

People who abuse substances are likely to find themselves increasingly isolated from their families. Often they prefer associating with others who abuse substances or participate in some other form of antisocial activity. These associates support and reinforce each other’s behavior.