Amphetamines: Personal and social consequences

Last modified: Thursday, 25. December 2008 - 5:07 am

Authorities point out that few people are capable of questioning the value of a drug that makes them feel good and is considered to have beneficial effects. However, occasional experimentation can easily become compulsive drug use and abuse. Abusers frequently do not recognize the effects amphetamines have on their failures and also often do not see how that “upper” has negative effects on their relationships with others.

Early onset of drug abuse is associated with early sexual activity, crime, and educational failure. Young amphetamine users risk exploitation by adults and are more likely to become involved in criminal or violent behavior and prostitution — having to resort to sex for survival. Consequently, they are also more likely to become infected with HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases and by tuberculosis or other bacterial, fungal, or viral infections. Chronic amphetamine abusers are also more at risk for mental and emotional disorders including anxiety, phobias, and depression. They are at higher risk of suicide.

Amphetamines have the potential to produce “unprovoked, random, and often senseless violence,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO). They are likely to demonstrate paranoia, antisocial behavior, become overly verbally and physically aggressive, and start fights over literally nothing.

The social consequences of amphetamine abuse include higher rates of accidents, violence, and crime. This is a worldwide phenomenon, says WHO. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), drug abuse cost American society $97.7 billion during 1992. That estimate included costs for substance abuse treatment and prevention, related health care, reduced job productivity, lost earnings, and other costs to society such as crime and social welfare. How much of that is due to amphetamine misuse is unknown, but the study estimated that the costs were borne almost equally by governments (46%) and by those who abuse drugs and members of their families (44%). More than half of the estimated costs of drug abuse were associated with drug-related crime.

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