Economic Consequences of Drug Abuse

Drug abuse denotes excessive substance use, including alcohol, prescription drugs, cocaine, methamphetamine, and other illegal drugs. Although drug abuse is a personal experience, it affects a country’s economy. Drug abuse is a major social and economic problem affecting both developed and developing countries. Below is how drug abuse affects an economy.

Drug abuse negatively impacts the workforce in an economy. Increased substance use causes individuals to lose interest in work-life and prioritize sourcing and consuming illegal drugs. Most drug addicts are not ambitious and do not have career goals; their only objective is to acquire drugs and get high. Furthermore, organizations terminate skilled and educated workers who cannot complete work assignments or are frequently absent due to drug addiction. Drug abuse negatively impacts the labor market by cutting the supply of new talents and skilled labor force.

Moreover, drug abuse undermines production in an economy. Workers who abuse drugs underperform at work, causing an organization to record low productivity and sales. Reduced production due to drug use creates a situation where a company cannot deliver on time or supply the demanded quantity. Reduced production negatively affects the economy by interfering with goods supply in the market. Drug addicts undergo regular treatment, meaning that a company with drug users misses production deadlines regularly. It is also costly to hire temporary workers to work in place of those undergoing addiction treatment.

Drug abuse affects the economy by contributing to a higher employee turnover. Excessive substance use undermines employees’ health, forcing them to leave workforce to receive specialized treatment. In severe cases, drugs cause disabilities and death, meaning that organizations must recruit new people to replace the departed or disabled employees. Increased employee turnover due to drug abuse forces a company to spend extra money on recruiting and training new staff. Moreover, new employees’ productivity is lower than seasoned workers. Solving drug addiction decreases labor turnover, which is beneficial to businesses and the economy.

Drug abuse impacts the economy by increasing healthcare costs. Drug addicts are vulnerable to overdoses, wounds, stroke, and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis B. Increase in drug-related hospitalization mandates insurance companies and healthcare facilities to increase medical costs. The costs affect all individuals, including those whose healthcare conditions are not drug-related. Drug abuse also affects the economy by diverting infrastructure and development money to healthcare. The funds to improve the economy ends up being used to treat drug addicts and preventing drug addiction. Drug abuse derails economic growth and infrastructure development.

Courtesy / Michael Longmire

Furthermore, drug abuse affects the economy by fueling crime and homelessness. Drug addicts commit crimes such as burglary, car breaking, and pickpocketing to steal money or property to fund their drug habits. Drug users, including those fired due to addiction problems, end up in the streets because they cannot afford to pay rent. A growing homeless population due to drug addiction is detrimental to an economy because it discourages investors. Moreover, people vacate cities or urban areas where drug addicts occupy the streets without government intervention. Such has been the case in San Francisco. Drug abuse discourages investment and economic development.

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