The price of substance abuse and addiction


Natalie Cullen

Drugs and alcohol are usually used, initially, as ways to release stress. In a relationship, it becomes one of the main reasons for an argument.

Anna Franklin, J1 Reporter

Addiction is a very serious and common issue. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, 21 million Americans in 2019 were dealing with substance abuse. That is six percent of the population, and those are only the people willing to admit it. 

Do not keep addicts in your life if they are negatively affecting your lifestyle or health. Your mental, and maybe even physical, health comes first.

Keeping an addict or substance abuser in your life can often make you feel like it is your job to be their therapist or support system. It’s not, and it can take a huge toll on your mental health. It’s not to say that helping them is bad or isn’t possible, but your health and well-being should always come first. 

Drugs and alcohol are usually used, initially, as ways to release stress. In a relationship, it becomes one of the main reasons for an argument. When this happens, according to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, it becomes a cycle of arguing about the use of a substance, more of that substance is used to release tension, more conflict arises, etc. Constant arguing is tiring and extremely unhealthy for a relationship. 

Not only can substance abuse or addiction cause a relationship to end, it can also cause an abusive relationship if couples decide to stay together. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence states that 15% of all violent crimes are between intimate partners. Out of this 15%, alcohol or drug abuse is used in 40-60% of it, as stated by the American Addiction Centers. Maintaining these relationships may not only cause unhappiness, it could also result in someone getting hurt. 

Substance abuse could also have a literal cost in any sort of relationship; addiction isn’t cheap. Spending $5 on a six-pack of beer every day may not seem like a lot, but it stacks up greatly over time. That’s $140 a month, which becomes $1600 over a year. This is talking about one of the relatively cheaper addictions. It is also extremely hard to continue working while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, meaning that there is most likely one breadwinner in the family, whose money is being spent on drugs/alcohol. 

It may be argued that addicts should not be left alone and need a support system, which I completely agree with. They do need support, but the people around them also need to take care of themselves. 

To combat this problem, you can support them from afar. Help them find a therapist that can help them talk through the problems that may have caused them to get addicted in the first place. 

Another option is to bring them to a rehabilitation center, that way they are still getting help without it being your job. 

It is not your job to keep a substance abuser in your life, it is your job to take care of yourself. Your health, mental or physical, should always come first.