Blending Perspectives and Building Common Ground. Impact of Substance Abuse on the Individual, Family, and Community


Substance abuse affects and costs the individual, the family, and the community in significant, measurable ways including loss of productivity and unemployability; impairment in physical and mental health; reduced quality of life; increased crime; increased violence; abuse and neglect of children; dependence on non-familial support systems for survival; and expenses for treatment.  The physical and mental health and social consequences of alcohol and other drug use by women can seriously affect their lives and those of their families (HHS/SAMHSA, 1997a).  Not only are women, especially young women, beginning to close the gap between female and male consumption of alcohol and other drugs, they suffer earlier and more serious consequences.  Women become intoxicated and addicted more quickly than men and develop related diseases earlier (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 1996).  As will be described more fully in Chapter 5, children also bear the burden of biological and environmental consequences of parental substance abuse.