Drugs are chemicals. Different drugs, because of their chemical structures, can affect the body in different ways. In fact, some drugs can even change a person’s body and brain in ways that last long after the person has stopped taking drugs, maybe even permanently.


Depending on the drug, it can enter the human body in a number of ways, including injection, inhalation, and ingestion. The method of how it enters the body impacts on how the drug affects the person. For example: injection takes the drug directly into the blood stream, providing more immediate effects; while ingestion requires the drug to pass through the digestive system, delaying the effects.


Most abused drugs directly or indirectly target the brain’s reward system by flooding the circuit with dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter present in regions of the brain that regulate movement, emotion, cognition, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. When drugs enter the brain, they can actually change how the brain performs its jobs. These changes are what lead to compulsive drug use, the hallmark of addiction.


Know The FactsIllicit drug users make over 527,000 costly emergency room visits each year for drug related problems

One 10 out of every 140KSH of the nation’s health care bill is spent to treat those suffering from smoking-related illnesses.

Drug offenders account for more than one-third of the growth in the state prison population and more than 80 percent of the increase in the number of prison inmates since 1985.

More than 75 percent of domestic violence victims report that their assailant had been drinking or using illicit drugs at the time of the incident.

Substance abuse and addiction are fully treatable.

45% of individuals with an untreated substance use disorder commit suicide.

InjuriesMore deaths, illnesses and disabilities stem from substance abuse than from any other preventable health condition. Today, one in four deaths is attributable to illicit drug use. People who live with substance dependence have a higher risk of all bad outcomes including unintentional injuries, accidents, risk of domestic violence, medical problems, and death

Effects on the BrainAlthough initial drug use may be voluntary, drugs have been shown to alter brain chemistry, which interferes with an individual’s ability to make decisions and can lead to compulsive craving, seeking and use. This then becomes a substance dependency.

All drugs of abuse – nicotine, cocaine, marijuana, and others – effect the brain’s “reward” circuit, which is part of the limbic system.

Drugs hijack this “reward” system, causing unusually large amounts of dopamine to flood the system.

This flood of dopamine is what causes the “high” or euphoria associated with drug abuse.

Behavioral ProblemsParanoia




Impaired Judgment


Loss of Self-Control

Birth DefectsNearly 4 percent of pregnant women in the Africa use illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, Ecstasy and other amphetamines, and heroin1. These and other illicit drugs may pose various risks for pregnant women and their babies. Some of these drugs can cause a baby to be born too small or too soon, or to have withdrawal symptoms, birth defects or learning and behavioral problems. Additionally, illicit drugs may be prepared with impurities that may be harmful to a pregnancy.

Finally, pregnant women who use illicit drugs may engage in other unhealthy behaviors that place their pregnancy at risk, such as having extremely poor nutrition or developing sexually transmitted infections.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. Results from the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings. Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-32, DHHS, Publication No. SMA 07-4293, 2007. Retrieved May 11, 2011 from http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/alcohol_illicitdrug.html Know the Facts: Substance Abuse: The Nation’s Number One Health Problem, Prepared by the Schneider Institute for Health Policy, Brandeis University for The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2001, Retrieved May 11, 2011 from www.rwjf.org/files/publications/…/

Share This:

Leave a Reply