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Do you feel that your addiction is holding you back from being a positive role model in society? Are you able to fully dedicate your talents, ideas and time to making the world a better place?

Even if you are among a class of high functioning addicts (those who tend to conceal their addictions well), chances are, you're still a part of the problem rather than the solution. If you live a life controlled by addiction, you cannot truly be a wholesome contribution to the world. Addiction burdens society financially. It negatively impacts output in jobs and it undermines a stable family structure.

Impact on the Economy

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Addiction's effect on the economy is a costly one. The overall cost of substance abuse, including illegal drugs, alcohol and tobacco, amounts to approximately $550 billion per year, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Health care and drug treatment create a burden on society.

Additionally, the government must allocate a large amount of funds to deal with crime associated with drug abuse, as well funds to hire personnel to help with incarcerating offenders and enforcing drug laws. If you are one of nearly 23.5 million Americans who is dependent on drugs and alcohol, you are not helping society. On the contrary, you are subtracting from the economic stability of our nation.

Impact on Careers

Another financial burden included in the NIDA estimate is a loss of productivity. An addict may show up for work late due to a hangover or coming down off a trip. Those that manage to arrive punctually at work may struggle with focus and are unable to give their best effort in the workplace.

Instead, individuals who struggle with substance abuse may:

  • Exhibit poor performance
  • Spend too much time thinking about how to obtain or use drugs after clocking out
  • Sell, purchase, or use alcohol or drugs within the workplace

What's more, chronic alcohol and drug users are more likely to have several jobs over a shorter period of time, meaning that companies must spend more money on the initial recruitment phases like training in order to hire new employees.

Addiction in the Family

Addiction in the Family ruins happiness

Probably most detrimental of all is the negative effect substance abuse has on the family. The partner/spouse and children who share a household with someone who is addicted may be in a great deal of pain. They worry about the consequences to your health and well-being. Will my husband lose his job? Will my husband crash his car after drinking late one night?

According to information from the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, the children of abusers may develop serious disorders such as anxiety or depression, have problems forming social attachments, and end up engaging in problem behaviors early in life. This means that your current addiction could hinder the growth and development of your children well into adulthood, creating lasting and disastrous effects on their lives. Since our children form the future of our society, one of the greatest crimes caused by addiction is the damage it does to them. Addiction's effects aren't limited to the addict; addiction affects everyone.

Recognizing High Functioning Addiction

If you question whether your substance problem negatively affects society, the short answer is...yes, it is. Abusing alcohol and drugs causes an abundance of lasting problems that can only be improved with recovery. Find the help you need at Recovery Boot Camp today.


  1. Drug abuse costs the United States economy hundreds of billions of dollars in health care costs, crime, and lost productivity. National Institute on Drug Abuse. July 2008. http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/addiction-science-molecules-to-managed-care/introduction/drug-abuse-costs-united-states-economy-hundreds-billions-dollars-in-increased-health
  2. New data shows millions of Americans with alcohol and drug addiction could benefit from Health Care R. Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. September 2010. http://www.drugfree.org/new-data-show-millions-of-americans-with-alcohol-and-drug-addiction-could-benefit-from-health-care-r/
  3. Drugs and the workplace. National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. https://ncadd.org/learn-about-drugs/workplace
  4. Dayton, T. The setup: Living with addiction. National Association for Children of Alcoholics. http://www.nacoa.org/pdfs/The%20Set%20Up%20for%20Social%20Work%20Curriculum.pdf

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