Close up of handcuffed hands tossing over their drugs after an arrest. They are facing drug possession conviction and need a good drug conviction lawyer.

Understanding the Negative Impacts of Drug Use and Addiction


Nobody that takes drugs for the first time expects to get addicted. However, because of many different factors, many people in the United States today suffer from an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Society and the criminal justice system do not treat those who are addicted to drugs fairly. People with addiction face societal judgment, prejudice from police officers and prosecutors, and difficulties accessing treatment programs.

If you suffer from addiction to drugs or alcohol, you should know that many services are available to help you overcome your addiction and begin on the right path. Whether you are facing criminal charges, have a previous criminal record, or need guidance toward recovery centers, the lawyers at Hirsch Law Group can help you in any way possible.

At our law firm, we have seen how prejudiced society and the criminal legal system can be, and we understand the challenges those suffering from addiction face. The effects of drug abuse are severe, and we want to help ensure that your future is not impacted by your addiction to drugs or alcohol. Our law firm has significant experience in criminal defense law, and we have helped many clients overcome their drug charges.

We have won many awards and recognitions for our dedication to our clients and have built up a strong attorney-client relationship due to this dedication.

Call us today to schedule a free consultation at 815-880-1134.


What is Drug Addiction?


Drug addiction is a chronic disease defined by the American Medical Association and The National Institute on Drug Abuse. Like other chronic diseases such as heart disease, there is no known specific cause of drug addiction, and a wide range of factors including environmental and biological factors, may cause it. Drug use can happen to anyone at any stage of their life, and it is a widespread problem throughout the country.

Because drug abuse is a disease, it can cause severe physical and mental health issues. Studies have shown that continued drug use can cause changes to a person’s brain chemistry which can result in serious behavioral changes. As such, a person’s general health is usually harmed by the continued use of drugs, and it can result in mental illness and physical health consequences. The risk factors for addiction depend on several circumstances, and some types of illegal drugs have a higher risk of addiction, such as opioids and prescription drugs.

As addiction is a chronic disease, there is no one way to cure it completely. However, many people have overcome their addiction through addiction medicine, rehabilitation programs, support groups, and continued support from family members. Overcoming a drug or alcohol problem can be extremely difficult for most people and may involve some initial failed attempts. However, those who suffer from a drug abuse problem must not lose hope and are encouraged to continue on their road to recovery.


Reasons For Drug Use


There are many different reasons why people begin to take drugs. These reasons can include environmental, developmental, and biological factors that increase the risk of drug use and addiction. Amongst these factors, people who suffer from mental health issues, feelings of loneliness, and experienced peer pressure from a young age are more likely to develop a drug or alcohol addiction.

Many people are exposed to physical influences that increase their likelihood of developing a drug abuse problem. These physical factors may include growing up in a home with drug users, being exposed to drugs from friends at a young age, or living in a neighborhood with high drug use. Exposure to these physical factors from a young age makes you more likely to develop a drug or alcohol problem later in life.

Some developmental factors can increase your chances of developing a drug abuse problem later in life. These factors can include a difficult home environment, negative school experiences, abuse from a young age, and a lack of community. Additionally, if you began to use alcohol or drugs at a young age, you have an increased risk of developing an alcohol or drug addiction.

Some studies have also found that genetics and biology can affect your chances of developing a drug abuse problem. As such, many people who grew up in a home where family members suffered from mental health problems or engaged in drug use grew up to develop an addiction later on in life.


Symptoms of Substance Use Disorder


Substance use disorder, or drug addiction, affects your physical well-being, mental health, and behavior. Drug abuse’s effects can be severe and cause serious health problems, including severe mental illness, damage to the human body, and psychological trauma. As addiction affects your brain chemistry, people are likelier to engage in behaviors they would not engage in if they were sober.


Behavior Changes

Behavioral changes are one of the main effects of drug and alcohol addiction. When you are drinking alcohol or abusing controlled substances, your decision-making ability, rationality, memory, and self-control are severely inhibited. This causes many people to engage in behaviors that are irrational and outside of their normal behavioral patterns. Some things people may do while using drugs or alcohol include:

  • Repeatedly showing up late to work or not showing up at all

  • Purchasing alcohol and drugs when you do not have the means to do so

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

  • Being secretive about drug use to family and friends

  • Stealing from family and friends to purchase drugs

  • Engaging in criminal activities to support drug or alcohol addiction

These behavior changes resulting from drug addiction can significantly affect your life. By engaging in these behaviors, people often ruin relationships with their family members and friends, get dismissed from their jobs, or get charged with a criminal offense. Witnessing someone you love change significantly due to their drug addiction can be very difficult for families and friends of someone with a substance use disorder.


Brain Changes

Continued drug use has a significant effect on a person’s brain. When a person initially takes drugs, their brain produces dopamine in response, causing the person to feel extreme joy. However, with continued use, the brain function changes how your brain can feel joy and consistently craves this feeling from drugs. As such, it limits the ability to feel the same level of joy without the drugs.


Withdrawal Symptoms

Many people who have been using drugs for a significant amount of time are reluctant to stop using as they fear the withdrawal symptoms of quitting. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe, depending on how long you have been using a drug and the type of drug you are addicted to. Some typical symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Extreme cravings for alcohol or other drugs

  • Insomnia

  • Anxiety and depression

  • Diarrhea and vomiting

  • Shakiness and sweating

  • Paranoia

Suppose you feel anxious about stopping to use drugs because of these withdrawal symptoms. In that case, many different programs and recovery groups can help you through the withdrawal process. You may be able to attend a rehabilitation center during the withdrawal or get addiction medicine which can ease the effects of drug withdrawal.


How Drug Use and Addiction Can Negatively Impact Your Life


Most people who take drugs for the first time do not suspect they will ever get addicted. However, drug addiction affects all walks of life, regardless of where you came from, the type of family you grew up in, or your financial status. Whether you have a family history of drugs, got addicted to prescription medicine, or began to use drugs for any other reason, it is possible to get addicted very quickly.

Drugs affect all aspects of your life with continued use or addiction. Often, people feel at a loss as to how they can escape from drugs once they get addicted. Society’s negative attitudes toward addiction are often viewed as a criminal rather than a health issue. However, if you suffer from drug addiction, you should know that there are many resources out there to help you on your road to recovery and that many options are available.


Mental Health

Drug use can result from or cause mental illness, depending on the circumstances. In some instances, people who suffer from mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), may be more likely to begin taking or injecting drugs. Initial drug use can cause these problems to ‘disappear’ while under the influence; however, continued use can, in many cases, cause even further mental health problems.

Most types of drugs, including prescription drugs and stimulants such as crystal meth, directly affect the central nervous system, which can lead to severe psychological and mental damage. If you have an underlying mental health issue, engaging in drug use can cause these problems to arise, and you may begin to suffer from depression, anxiety, psychosis, or schizophrenia with continued use.

If you have experienced mental health problems that have resulted from or have been made worse by continued drug use, it is important to know that many programs and support groups can help you on your road to recovery. Substance misuse can have long-lasting effects, and it is encouraged that you seek help as soon as possible.


Physical Health

In addition to mental health consequences, continued drug use and addiction can severely impact a person’s physical well-being. Illicit drugs and alcohol affect all parts of the human body and expose it to many types of diseases and health issues, including:

  • High blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attacks

  • Increased risk of cancer such as liver and lung cancer

  • Brain damage

  • Intense cravings for alcohol or drugs

  • Difficulties getting pregnant

  • Infectious disease

People addicted to controlled substances are also at a higher risk of spreading and catching infectious diseases. This is particularly the case regarding sexual diseases such as HIV. Those who inject illicit drugs are at a greater risk of developing health issues and infectious diseases such as Hepatitis C.


Criminal Consequences

Drugs affect a lot more than your physical and mental health. Many people who get caught up in crime in Illinois do so due to drug addiction. Because drugs affect your brain chemistry and result in severe behavioral changes, people on drugs are much more likely to engage in criminal activities, whether to support their addiction or because they are not completely aware of their actions.

The criminal justice system makes it extremely difficult for people who suffer from drug abuse problems to get rehabilitated. The court system, police officers, and prosecutors do not care about the negative consequences of a drug conviction on a person’s life, and their top priority is getting your case through the criminal system as quickly as possible and securing a conviction. As such, you need to protect your rights if you have been charged with a drug crime and do everything in your power to prevent getting caught up in the criminal justice system.

If you are facing a drug charge in Illinois, an experienced criminal defense attorney from our law firm may be able to help you by fighting for court-ordered rehab instead of prison time or probation. This way, you can avoid getting caught up in the criminal justice system and instead begin your path to recovery.


How to Turn Your Life Around With a Drug Addiction


Suffering from drug addiction can be extremely difficult and isolating. Modern society treats addiction as a crime rather than a disease that needs to be treated. The road to recovery can seem long and difficult for many people, particularly if you do not have a family member or friend to help you. However, regardless of the views of society and the criminal justice system, long-term recovery from drug or alcohol addiction is achievable and possible for anyone suffering from an addiction.


Admit You Have a Problem

Acknowledging the problem is the first and most critical step in overcoming addiction. This can be difficult due to the fear, shame, or denial often associated with addiction. However, without admitting there is a problem, it’s impossible to seek and accept help. You need to honestly assess the impact the addiction is having on your life, your health, your relationships, and your responsibilities.


Drug Abuse Treatment Programs

For many people, overcoming a drug abuse problem can be made significantly easier with the help of a rehabilitation or drug abuse treatment program. Many rehabilitation programs can help guide people through recovery, and you can choose one best suited to your situation. Some types of treatment programs include:

  • Residential treatment – Rehab programs are in-house treatment programs in which people enter for a specific period or until they have completed the program and overcome their addiction.

  • Outpatient programs – Unlike residential treatment, outpatient programs offer daytime care for people suffering from addiction. Individuals can attend these programs daily for a few hours or a few times a week.

  • Detoxification programs – If you are going through withdrawal from a substance, detoxification programs can help you manage this withdrawal and may include hospitalization in specific circumstances.

Suppose you are facing criminal charges because of your addiction to drugs. In that case, a lawyer can help petition the Judge to get your case heard in a drug court and send you to a rehabilitation program rather than prison. With court-ordered rehab, you must attend until your sentence is complete and fulfill the requirements of the Judge’s order. For many people, this is a much better option in a criminal case as it enables people to begin their road to recovery from addiction.


Support Groups

In addition to drug abuse treatment programs, many support groups are available for people to share their experiences, learn from other drug users about their experiences, and receive encouragement from peers and mentors. Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous enable those suffering from addiction to share their experiences with others who are or have been in the same situation. There are also many support groups for family members of those who suffer from an addiction, such as Al-Anon Family Groups.


Lifestyle Changes

Incorporating healthy habits and routines into your life can significantly support your recovery. This includes eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, and learning to manage stress effectively. It’s also crucial to avoid situations and environments that trigger drug use and to find new, healthy activities or hobbies to replace substance use.


Contact a Lawyer From Hirsch Law Group Today!


Addiction to drugs and alcohol can have serious negative effects on your life. In addition to the damage to your physical and mental health, addiction can cause significant behavioral changes, resulting in the breakdown of relationships and stability and, in many cases, criminal activities. Society and the criminal justice system make it difficult for those suffering from addiction to feel like they can get help, and many people feel criminalized for their addiction.

However, it is important to know that there are many ways to turn your life around from a drug abuse problem, even if you are facing criminal charges for drug-related crimes. At Hirsch Law Group, we understand the unique challenges those who suffer from addiction face. Our lawyers have seen firsthand how the criminal justice system treats those who suffer from an addiction unfairly, and we are dedicated to protecting the rights and the future of those accused of drug crimes.

We want to help you in any way we can, whether defending your criminal charges, appealing your conviction, expunging your record, or guiding you toward recovery services. Our team of former prosecutors has been on the other side of the law, so we know how to ensure your rights are protected.

Call us today to schedule a free consultation at 815-880-1134.