The Top 7 Effects of Drug Abuse on Academic Performance

As effective as drugs can be in improving your health, the effects of drug abuse on academic performance, especially, is one discussion many people aren’t ready for. 

You might be quick to say cite the case when you have to prepare for an important examination, and to study late at night without sleeping is the only option.

Well, asides from this being one of the many bad reading habits, the fact remains that drugs are meant to be taken at a prescribed quantity, and doing above that ideal measure will not bode well for abusers. Maybe, a reminder of the definition of drug abuse should suffice at this point.

Drug abuse is the disproportionate use of substances under any guise without a doctor’s prescription. Drugs have a specific time of action; taking drugs much more frequently than you should, even after a doctor’s prescription falls under drug abuse too. 

Now, the issue at hand is the effects of drug abuse on academic performance. If we need to deal with this matter from its root, we must understand the plight of students who venture into drug abuse. Many don’t even recognize what they are doing as drug abuse. Ignorance of drug abuse takes a huge chunk of the reason students engage in drug abuse.

Another reason we have incredibly high drug abuse rates among students is that they don’t know the short-term and long-term effects of drug abuse on academic performance. You must understand that it is one thing not to know what you are doing, and it is yet another not to know the repercussions of what you are doing. Unfortunately, some students fall into this category.

Yes, we know; it appears as though we are only focused on the supposed good reasons there are many students abusing drugs. There are also outright wrong reasons why students indulge in substance abuse. Topping this list has to be peer pressure. 

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Peer pressure is the intense desire to fit into a particular age group. It must be said that peer pressure isn’t entirely a bad phenomenon, but it has often been associated with harmful habits. Many students venture into drug abuse because it seemingly is the in-thing to do. Since everyone is doing it, then the effects of drug abuse on academic performance might be a farce.

In all, whether the reason for drug abuse is a good or a bad one, drug abuse is always drug abuse, irrespective of the intent. As we go on, we will outline a few effects of drug abuse on academic performance. And, yes, if you thought those effects were unreal, in the course of the article, you will certainly have a change of mind.

Shall we?

Effects of Drug Abuse on Academic Performance

Effects of Drug Abuse on Academic Performance

The news is awash with many gory incidents associated with drug abuse. Not only are there effects of drug abuse on academic performance, but also on family and society as a whole. The individual isn’t the only one left to bear the brunt of excessively taking drugs beyond the medical prescriptions. 

Nonetheless, we would be narrowing our lenses to just the effects of drug abuse on academic performance.

Severe Brain Damage

As you may already know, the brain is where activities of coordination and intelligence go on. In fact, it is medically known that when the blood supply is cut off from the brain for a relatively short time, the person is at risk of a coma or, worse still, death. This highlights the sensitivity of the brain to substances.

Many students who abuse drugs always end up addicts to these drugs in the long run, and such addictions, in turn, cripple the perfect functioning of the brain. These addictions often lead to brain aneurysms, a medical condition when the intracranial pressure is raised. The implication is that the student has to leave school since such a person can’t process information anymore.

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Depletion of Self-esteem

Among the effects of drug abuse on academic performance is low self-esteem. Indulging in substance abuse doesn’t only affect your mind; your emotions are also brought to a mess. Students who abuse drugs many times aren’t able to do things without taking these drugs.

They feel emotionally high when they take the drugs, and when they don’t, they are all reclusive and unconfident. This can reflect on your grades as a student because, for certain professional examinations, you will be forced to undergo tests before taking them.

General health is compromised

Medically, drugs have what is known as a half-life. This is the time it takes for these drugs to act and bring about the right effect in the human body before they are destroyed in the liver and, sometimes, the kidney. When you take more than the ideal quantity of drugs, the load on your kidneys and livers is increased beyond what they can bear. 

In this complex situation, your body’s immunity is brought to an all-time low, and you are then susceptible to diseases making this one of the great effects of drug abuse on academic performance.

Loss of balance and concentration

The brain has several divisions. One division known as the cerebellum is in charge of maintaining consciousness in man. Excessive drug intake can impair this part of the brain, leaving the student to lose vital consciousness of his environment. This is what gives birth to the hallucinations we hear about or even Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

In fact, many popular cult groups in Nigerian universities and schools can be traced to substance abuse that was left unchecked.

Impairment of Memory

Your brain as a student is meant for concentration, imbibition, and retention of information. The brain’s retentive ability also takes a massive hit when you abuse drugs. 

For a student who would have to read and prepare extensively for examinations, losing your retentive ability can be chaotic. You take in so much, but when you get to the examination hall, you go all blank. Some of these occurrences indeed happen because of sleep deprivation, but drug abuse isn’t exempt either.

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In fact, some students would tell you that they take some drugs in the name of memory boosters to sharpen their memory. Well, whatever isn’t prescribed by a doctor should be avoided. 

Destruction of social image

Let us assume for a second that you managed to beat all other effects of drug abuse on academic performance, and you stopped excessively taking drugs. Can you stand the stigma that comes with drug addiction?

This is the aura that students who have battled drug abuse in the past have to carry with them. Sometimes, students, because of the overwhelming embarrassment, end up going back to substance abuse.

Loss of money and resources

Drugs aren’t cheap commodities, especially when you abuse them. However, because of the nature of drug addiction, students are compelled to spend more than they ought to use for other important things on drugs, and even when they are out of money, they sell valuables in exchange for these drugs. Imagine a student trifling away money for his books for drugs.

The economic effect is one of those overlooked effects of drug abuse on academic performance. 


So far, with the number of effects of drug abuse on academic performance already mentioned, you should be convinced that there is nothing positive about drug abuse. In fact, away from the academic scene, there are top celebrities who have been in jail because of you know what – drug abuse.

It is such a habit you shouldn’t indulge in because not only are they challenging to break away from, but also, the losses experienced are huge to recover from.

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