The Ripple Effects of Drug Addiction on Society
By: Lakeview Health Staff
Published: June 18, 2013

You know that your drug use is unsafe. It puts you at risk for developing serious medical conditions, like heart disease and HIV/AIDS. There have also been reports of stroke, cancer and hepatitis. But think about how drug use can affect others, especially innocent people who are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Addicts can easily say “My using doesn’t affect anyone else.” But what about the times when it does? Below are examples in which the user’s choices made or had the potential to make a deadly impact on other people.

Working After Smoking

When you’re high, you have altered perception and impaired psychomotor skills. The last thing you should be doing is handling heavy machinery. Recently in Philadelphia, Sean Benschop was using an excavator and failed to correctly demolish a building. An outer wall fell onto a Salvation Army Thrift Store, killing 6 people and injuring 13. Benschop admitted that he took codeine and other prescription drugs before the tragedy. A toxicology report showed that he also had marijuana in his system. The doctor who examined Benschop after the accident said that the amount of marijuana in his blood would have made him unable to appropriately operate the excavator.

Flying High (or Not So)

Whether you’re on the ground or in the sky, drug use has the same effects. In September 2008, Sean Oskvarek of Chicago was flying a single-engine plane. The plane descended erratically,  barely missing trees, power lines, and two houses. It crashed in a home’s backyard. Tests showed that Oskvarek had marijuana, cocaine, opiates and benzodiazepines in his system at the time of the incident. Oskvarek sustained minor injuries and luckily, didn’t hurt anyone else. But it could have been a lot worse. Instead of ending up in a family’s backyard, he could have crashed into the house.

Driving While Impaired

Many people underestimate the effects of drug use when you’re driving a car. If you’re high, you won’t be as alert and able to concentrate. You will also have a slower reaction time. In August 2012, Rafael Gonzales drove down a street at about 20 mph over the speed limit.  He crashed into another vehicle, injuring a 10-year-old boy and killing his grandmother. Gonzales had marijuana in his system. When police searched his truck, they discovered drug paraphernalia that contained traces of marijuana. They also found a small vial that held a barbiturate. If you’re high when you operate construction equipment, fly a plane or drive a car-you’re not just putting yourself in harm’s way. Do you want to risk being at fault for hurting other people, or worse? Think about it: Can you live with that? Keep yourself and those around you safe. Don’t let the effects of drug use hurt others. Call Lakeview Health today to find out about how our treatment programs can help you detox and stay clean for life.