Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

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Former NIDA Director on “Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse”

Former NIDA Director, Dr. Alan I. Leshner

Addressing the Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse (2000)

“When people hear the words “consequences of drug abuse,” they usually think of addiction, crime, and other social disruptions. However, the most immediate, extensive, and long-lasting problems caused by drug abuse, both for individuals and for society, are often medical in nature. For example, known drug-abuse-related health problems and resulting lost productivity alone cost our society more than $33 billion each year…

Florida-Drug-Rehab-Facility…Illicit drugs directly cause many medical problems. Stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine increase the heart rate while constricting the blood vessels; in susceptible individuals, these two actions together set the stage for cardiac arrhythmias and strokes. The club drug methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, also called “ecstasy”), which many users mistakenly believe to be safe, has caused malignant hyperthermia, permanent kidney damage, and death. MDMA also damages serotonin nerve fibers in the brain. Heroin can cause a life-threatening kidney condition called focal glomerulosclerosis. The list continues: NIDA research has shown that almost every drug of abuse harms some tissue or organ…

… The circumstances and behaviors associated with drug abuse add to the adverse impacts on health. Inadequate housing and poor nutrition, common accompaniments of drug abuse, can increase exposure to diseases and reduce ability to fight off infections. Injecting drug use promotes blood clots, severe skin infections, and blood-borne infections including life-threatening endocarditis, viral hepatitis, and HIV/AIDS. Abuse of some drugs is associated with impulsive sexual activity that elevates individuals’ risks for acquiring and transmitting HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.”

Information is courtesy of: www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes


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