The Effects of Drug Abuse on Education


One of the negative consequences associated with drug abuse is its impact on a user's education. Drug abuse negatively impacts education in several ways.

Impaired Short Term Memory

  • Even students who use marijuana, which is considered a mild drug, are doing themselves a disservice. Marijuana limits the brain's ability to retain information.

Inability to Focus

  • Drug abusers find it difficult to focus, particularly on tasks that require mental effort. A lack of focus generally leads to poor performance on schoolwork.

Reduced Cognitive Efficiency

  • Persistent drug use affects the user's brain. For example, adult marijuana users have demonstrated lower ability than nonusers on both math and verbal tests. Inhalants, methamphetamine and cocaine lead to cognitive impairment, as documented by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Preoccupation with Drugs

  • When drug abuse leads to addiction, the user spends increased amounts of time and energy on getting and using drugs. This leaves less time to concentrate on schoolwork, which means grades suffer.

Vicious Cycle

  • The United Nations International Drug Control Program suggests that when students' educational performance goes down, their self-esteem suffers. This can cause a cycle of even lower academic performance and lower self-esteem that often drives students toward further drug use.


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