How Substance Abuse Affects Your Life Expectancy

How Substance Abuse Affects Your Life Expectancy

The tragic epidemic of drug deaths in America dominates the headlines.  But did you know that substance abuse can affect your health in other ways besides fatal overdoses?  There are literally hundreds of diseases and health conditions caused by excessive drinking, drug abuse, or the misuse of prescription medications.

And the damage to your health can shorten your life by decades.  In fact, the consequences of substance abuse are one of the primary reasons why the U.S. life expectancy has decreased in recent years.


Substance Abuse Steals Your Life

Let’s look at how specific substances can shorten your lifespan:

 Smoking one pack of cigarettes: 4.6 hours
 1 cigarette: 14 minutes
 1 pack per day for 1 year: 70 days
 One “typical” night out, just drinking beer: 14.1 hours
 2 nights out per week, for 1 year: 61.5 days
 Between 1999 and 2015, the number of alcohol-related deaths in American increased by 47%.
 17 million Americans meet the criteria for a medical diagnosis of Alcohol Use Disorder.
 Up to 15% of people with AUD develop cirrhosis of the liver.
 30% of cirrhosis patients who don’t stop drinking die within five years.
 85% of people who are alcohol-dependent also smoke.
 One day of methamphetamine use: 58.8 hours
 Daily meth use, for 1 year: 2.45 years
 One day of heroin use: 68.4 hours
 Daily heroin use, for one year: 2.85 years
 One-third of all HIV/AIDS cases are due to intravenous drug use.
 People who abuse alcohol or drugs are at a suicide risk that is six times higher than that of the general population.
 Among female substance abusers, the risk of suicide is nine times higher.
 60% of completed suicides happen while the victim is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Chronic substance abuse can shorten a person’s lifespan

by an average of 42 years.


What Does All of This Mean for San Diego Residents?

According to the San Diego County Medical Examiner, there were 544 unintentional drug or alcohol-related deaths in the county in 2016.  This is the highest number ever, and represents a 103% increase since the year 2000, when there were “only” 268 deaths involving intoxicants.

These statistics show that there is no safe level of substance abuse.  Every time you drink or use drugs, you are literally risking your health and perhaps even a life.  The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to completely stop using all intoxicants.  And if you are finding that too hard to do, maybe you need professional help.

As the most-trusted outpatient drug and alcohol rehab program in San Diego, Lasting Recovery is your top resource to help you regain both your sobriety and your optimal health.  If you are ready to begin your own sober journey, contact Lasting Recovery TODAY.


Lasting Recovery – “Where Wellness Begins…”