Health Risks Associated With the use of Illicit Drugs and the Abuse of Alcohol

The use or abuse of alcohol and other drugs increases the risk for a number of health-related and other medical, behavioral, and social problems.

These include:

  • Acute health problems related to intoxication or overdose (blackouts, convulsions, coma, and death).
  • Physical and psychological dependence.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Long-term health problems, including cirrhosis of the liver.
  • Organic brain damage.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Heart disease.
  • Ulcers and cancer of the liver mouth, throat, and stomach.
  • Contraction of diseases such as AIDS through the sharing of hypodermic needles.
  • Pregnancy problems including miscarriages, still births and learning disabilities.
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (physical and mental birth defects).
  • Psychological or psychiatric problems.
  • Diminished behavior (hangover, hallucinations, disorientation, slurred speech).
  • Unusual or inappropriate risk-taking, which may result in physical or emotional injury or death.
  • Violent behavior toward others, such as assaults and rape.
  • Accidents caused by operating machinery while impaired.
  • Impaired driving resulting in alcohol- and drug-related arrests, traffic accidents, injuries, and fatalities; negative effects on academic or work performance.
  • Conflicts with co-workers, classmates, family, friends, and other conduct problems resulting in disciplinary actions, including loss of employment and legal problems including imprisonment.