National Institutes of Health

Drug Abuse Hurts Bodies

Many drugs of abuse can cause problems such as heart attacks and high blood pressure.

Some drugs can hurt your lungs. Smoking cigarettes can cause diseases such as cancer and emphysema, as well as lung infections and coughing. Smoking marijuana also can cause lung infections and coughing.

Drugs that slow you down, like heroin and painkillers, can make you stop breathing. Inhalants can hurt your lungs and airways AND stop your breathing.

Many drugs—including cocaine, heroin, and painkillers—can make your stomach hurt and make you throw up.

Drugs such as cocaine and heroin can hurt your kidneys. Sometimes the kidney disease is so bad that the person has to have hours of medical treatment (dialysis) every week. If your kidneys stop working, you can die.

Alcohol and inhalant abuse can cause liver disease.

Injecting (shooting up) drugs can hurt your veins. Using dirty needles can give you HIV/AIDS and hepatitis (a liver disease).

Young man

Drugs that slow you down, like heroin and painkillers, can make you stop breathing. (Photo information)