You’ve heard that voice, “C’mon, go ahead and have a…,” urging you to pick up your drug of choice. There's always at least one really good reason to use. Here are ten good reasons to not use.
1. To save lives
There are more deaths and disabilities annually from substance abuse than from any other cause. Some statistics:
- Drugs or alcohol are involved in 40-50% of traffic fatalities. That’s one substance-related death every 31 minutes.
- Over 50% of people who die in fires are intoxicated.
- Approximately 25% of all emergency room admissions, over 30% of all suicides, and more than 50% of all homicides and domestic violence incidents are alcohol-related.
2. To stop crime
According to a 2001 study, 50% - 80% of arrested or imprisoned adults and juvenile offenders have substance use problems. One study found that 86% of homicide offenders, 37% of assault offenders were drinking during their crime. In domestic violence arrests, 57% of men and 27% of women involved were drinking at the time, either as the victim or the perpetrator.
3. To protect your health
Because chemical substances can affect many organs in the body, using over a long period of time or in increasing quantities leads to a gradual breakdown of virtually every organ and system in the body and results in serious, often fatal, health consequences. Women develop substance-related health problems after consuming smaller quantities over shorter periods of time than men.
4. To protect your unborn children
The harmful effects of prenatal drug and alcohol use are devastating to the physical, mental, and emotional development of children.
- Alcohol use by pregnant women has been cited as the number one preventable cause of retardation in children. According to the CDC, between 1,300 - 8,000 babies are born in the U.S. with fetal alcohol syndrome, which causes a cluster of physical and mental birth defects. Often these children need medical care all their lives.
- Other less well-known academic and social effects include:
- Attention deficit disorders.
- Poor social judgment.
- Delayed or damaged emotional development.
- Significant IQ deficits – one study indicated that for every two additional drinks consumed by the mother, there was a 3-point reduction in IQ score for her children.
- Increased risk of depression in children as young as 5, regardless of how the mothers treated their children or whether they stopped drinking. Girls are more seriously impacted than boys, especially when their mothers also experience depressive symptoms.
5. To protect your child’s emotional health
It is estimated that there are over nine million children who are currently living with a parent who is chemically dependent. Effects on the lives of these children are profound.
- A child has an 8 times greater chance of developing an addiction if their parents use drugs or alcohol.
- Child abuse cases doubled from 1986 to 1997. The number one contributing factor is parental substance abuse.
6. To protect your teens
In addition to the problems related to addiction listed in this article, teens are vulnerable to other problems:
- Over 80 percent of college presidents consider alcohol abuse to be the number one problem on campus.
- Teens under 15 who have ever consumed alcohol are twice as likely to have sex as those who have not.
- Nearly 40% of sexually active teens who use alcohol have had sexual intercourse with four or more individuals, greatly increasing their risk for sexually transmitted diseases.
- In 53% of the cases of teen rape, the victim was drinking; the offender was drinking in 64% of these cases.
7. To protect your family
Over 1/3 of all American adults say that drug and alcohol abuse have brought trouble to his or her family. Chemical abuse and dependence often lead to marital conflict and divorce as well as social alienation because of using-related misbehavior.
8. To protect your job
Substance abuse is related to increased absenteeism, work-related accidents, errors in judgment, legal expenses, health claims, and decreased productivity.
9. To save money
Untreated addiction creates more financial hardship on the addict’s family than heart disease, diabetes, and cancer combined. Other costs to the addict include increased debt, loss of home, legal expenses, and financial problems related to poor decision-making.
10. To save tax dollars
Alcohol and drug abuse costs the American economy an estimated $276 billion per year in lost productivity, health care expenditures, crime, motor vehicle crashes, and other conditions. 80% of these costs come from tax dollars. It costs every adult in America nearly $1000 per year to cover the cost of addiction. A conservative estimate is that state governments spend more than $81 billion dollars per year in substance related services.
Treatment costs vary, but one estimate of the average cost of addiction treatment in 2005 is a little more than $1400. Research indicates that successful prevention and treatment programs result in significant reductions in heart disease, HIV, child abuse, strokes, cancer, unwanted pregnancy, crime, and traffic fatalities. In addition, treatment has shown to improve job performance and health, and reduces criminal recidivism rates.