Drug Abuse Linked to Shorter Life Spans

Drugs and pocket watch - lifespan waste

While most people know that drug and alcohol addiction is risky to one’s health, most don’t know the gruesome details as to exactly how damaging drug use and alcoholism are to one’s health. When people abuse drugs and alcohol, they shave hours, days, even years off their overall lifespan. Different drug habits and methods of use will range greatly in the physical damage done to one’s body, but the fact remains that all drug abuse has a negative, toxic, life-shortening end-result.

Calculations on Life Lost from Drug Use

The Omni Health Calculator has a fascinating tool where one can compute the amount of life lost, for the average person. The calculator is based on tabulated averages, computed science on the damage that different drugs do to the average man or woman, and the expected loss in life that damage results in.

Omni Health Calculator

According to the health calculator, every time a person uses heroin, they lose about twenty-two hours off of their lifespan. A healthy American would ordinarily live to an average of seventy-nine years old, but if they started using heroin at age twenty-one and if they used it once a day, they would die when they were fifty. The addiction would take twenty-eight years of their life, and that’s assuming they didn’t die from an overdose before that.

Meth users have it slightly better. When people use meth, they lose eleven hours off their lifespan. A meth addict could use meth, only once every day or so, and would die by the age of sixty if they started at age twenty-one. Of course, this is if the meth did not trigger a chain reaction of internal organ failure sometime before that, which can happen in regular and heavy meth users.

Cocaine users burn out more quickly than meth users do. Cocaine causes a rapid change in the heart, respiratory system, and nervous system. A person who starts using cocaine at the age of twenty-one and who uses it once a day will live to be about sixty-nine, assuming they would have had an average lifespan of seventy-nine years otherwise.

Alcoholics draw the shortest straw, every time. Alcohol is the greatest poison, even more toxic than heroin over long periods of time. Furthermore, an alcoholic has to consume far more of his substance of choice than a heroin junkie does. An alcoholic will drink at least six drinks a day, which, if he starts at age twenty-one, will shed thirty-six years off his lifespan. He’ll live to be about forty-three or so. If he only had four drinks a day he might fare better, living closer to fifty or so.

Prevent Drug Abuse; Prevent Loss of Life

It couldn’t be more clear now that drug abuse and alcoholism causes untold damage and irreparable harm to one’s body. This is permanent damage we’re talking about here. Even if one goes to a rehab program and kicks their drug habit, the time they lost by doing drugs or drinking is time they’ll never get back. It is permanent damage.

With that in mind, it becomes more important to teach and educate others on the risks and dangers present with drug abuse. People need to know what they’re up against when it comes to drugs and alcohol, and they’re up against a lot.

The fascinating thing is that, when people know the risks involved with drug abuse and alcohol misuse, they stay away from such activities. That is why education is the best tool in reducing the drug epidemic, education and helping those already addicted through rehabilitation.




After working in addiction treatment for several years, Ren now travels the country, studying drug trends and writing about addiction in our society. Ren is focused on using his skill as an author and counselor to promote recovery and effective solutions to the drug crisis. Connect with Ren on LinkedIn.