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Drug Abuse and Dependence - What Happens

You may not feel that using drugs is a problem. Maybe you feel that you are a casual user because you use drugs only now and then. You may feel that you can stop using drugs at any time.

But drug use quickly can become a habit, and for many people it may lead to abuse and addiction. You may begin to use drugs without thinking about how drugs can harm you and those you care about.

How drugs affect your health

Drugs can cause you to have health problems, such as:

Drugs also can lead to problems with thinking and remembering. They can affect judgment, decision-making, emotions, and learning.

Different drugs harm your body in different ways. Drugs that can cause harm include:

How drugs affect your life

You are more likely to have unsafe sex when on drugs, and you may get and spread sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

If you're pregnant, drugs can pass into your uterus and harm your baby.

Drug use also can lead to problems with your partner, family, or friends. You and your family may feel that you have turned against each other. You may be angry at them, and they may be angry at you. You may do poorly at work or in school, or you may even quit. You also can have legal problems, like being arrested for driving while on drugs or for using or selling drugs.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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