How does substance use disorder impact finances?

Aug 23, 2022

Substance use disorder has many far-reaching effects. It can lead to job loss, homelessness, and costly treatment bills or court fees. While this doesn’t impact anyone’s finances in a good way, these readers highlight the different aspects of finances that substance use can hurt.

Samantha Miller

Samantha Miller

Dr. Samantha Miller from Drug Helpline.

Treatment for Substance Use is Costly

Substance abuse can have a huge impact on a person’s finances, which can often bring someone into a downward spiral that is difficult to break. People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol may end up spending a lot of money on their unhealthy habits, which can quickly drain their bank accounts. Having little to no money saved up would then cause financial problems, such as being unable to pay bills or getting into debt.

Substance abuse can also lead to people losing their jobs or not being able to find work due to their addiction. This can then cause even more financial struggles, as people may not be able to afford necessities like food and rent.

Getting help for substance abuse can also be expensive. In addition to the cost of treatment, [people] often have to pay for counseling, medication, and other related expenses. This can be a huge burden for someone who is already struggling with addiction. Fortunately, there are ways to get financial assistance for those who really need it.

Substance Use Leads to Financial Problems

Addiction can greatly impact a person’s finances. Because the urge to use substances can be so great, a person may go into debt, sell prized possessions, or even gamble to find money to use the drug. It is not uncommon for people with substance issues to end up with money issues due to the addiction. They may suffer bad credit, foreclosures, car repossessions, and even homelessness as a result of the addiction.

Emily Mendez

Emily Mendez

Emily Mendez, M.S., Ed.S., Public Relations at The Ohana Addiction Treatment Center.
Terence A.

Terence A.

Terence A. from

4 Ways Substance Use Impacts Finances

  • Addiction can be expensive. The cost of drugs or alcohol, plus any related expenses (such as legal fees), can add up quickly.
  • Substance abuse can interfere with a person’s ability to work. This can lead to lost wages and difficulty paying bills.
  • People with addiction may turn to criminal activity to get money for drugs or alcohol. This can result in fines, jail time, and other expenses.
  • Substance abuse can damage relationships. This can make it difficult to ask for financial help from family or friends.

Major Ways Substance Use Affects Finances

Substance abuse is not healthy for you, let alone your relationships. Some of the major reasons that lead to loss of finances are:

● Cost of addiction increases over time.
When people first start doing drugs, just a small amount is enough to make them high. As time passes, their bodies develop tolerance to that quantity, and they end up buying more drugs to make them feel high again. Furthermore, their bodies become dependent on the drug, and they take them every day. In short, the increased need for drugs makes them spend more money on them.

● Substance abuse leads to decreased productivity.
When a person becomes dependent on drugs you barely have any will to work. Most end up losing their jobs due to non-serious approaches [to] work. They end up with no job and drug dependence that slowly deplete their bank balance. Hence, substance abuse will destroy your source of finance!

● Substance abuse [leads to] more health problems.
People who share needles to inject the drugs [can] end up with severe bacterial infections and HIV. Alcohol abuse [can lead to] liver problems. These conditions need medical assistance, and people end up draining their money on hospital loss.

Shannon Miller

Shannon Miller, Clinical Director at ChoicePoint Health.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors' statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.