What are the consequences of drug use?
The consequences of drug use are fourfold. First is the cost to the family, often manifesting itself in higher rates of divorce, spouse abuse, child abuse, and child neglect. Second is the relationship between drugs and crime. Those arrested have disproportionately higher rates of drug use. Although drug users commit more crimes, sociologists disagree as to whether drugs actually "cause" crime or whether, instead, criminal activity leads to drug involvement. Third are the economic costs (e.g., loss of productivity), which are in the billions. Last are the health costs of abusing drugs, including shortened life expectancy; higher morbidity (e.g., cirrhosis of the liver and lung cancer); exposure to HIV infection, hepatitis, and other diseases through shared needles; a weakened immune system; birth defects such as fetal alcohol syndrome; drug addiction in children; and higher death rates.