Impact of Drug Use on Your Body

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Drug use can have an impact on your life and mind, but it can also have immediate and long-lasting effects on your physical health and well-being.

Physical injuries
. When you’re under the influence of drugs, you might do things that you wouldn’t’ normally do. This can increase your chances of getting hurt or having an accident. Drug-related injuries can be from things like falling and car accidents.

Violence. Some drugs can increase the likelihood of violent behavior. Violence is never an acceptable way to react in a situation, and if you become violent when you use drugs, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate your drug use. Drug-induced violence can lead to serious injury to you and to others.

Internal damage. Use of some drugs can damage your internal organs, like your liver, brain, lungs, throat and stomach. For example, ordinary household glue can be characterized as a drug if sniffed. The chemicals in glue can cause hearing loss and kidney damage if they’re inhaled over a long period of time. And continuous marijuana use can harm the parts of the brain that control memory, attention and learning.

Pregnancy and STDs. While you’re under the influence, you might be less likely to remember to have safe sex. Unprotected sex can lead to pregnancy or the spread of STDs like HIV/AIDS.

Risk of other infectious diseases. Sharing needles from injecting certain types of drugs can put you at major risk for getting diseases like Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, as well as HIV. These diseases are spread through the transmission of body fluids like blood. You can also contract other infections, like colds and mono, from sharing pipes or bongs.

Addiction. When you take drugs, there’s a chance that you could become dependent on them. This means that you might feel like you can’t operate without drugs in your system or that you spend a lot of your time and energy finding and using the drug. You might also have withdrawal symptoms when you stop using the drug. If you use drugs often, your tolerance to the drug might increase, causing you to need to take a greater amount to get the same effects. If you think you might need help for your drug dependence, check out Getting help for drug use fact sheet.  

Getting Help
If you’re using drugs and finding it hard to manage life and relationships, help is available. Start by talking with someone you trust, like a friend or family member, about your problem. You might also want to speak with a doctor or counselor or other mental health professional all of whom can help you get professional treatment for your drug problem. Check out the Getting help for drug use fact sheet for more info.

Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at, a website that helps teens get through tough times.  

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