The modern-day youth is bombarded with the contradictory portrayal of drugs. In school, they’re told never to try out drugs. But the outside world glorifies it through movies, music and television.

Feeling a little anxious or stressed out? Go to the bar. Drink your struggle away. Maybe sniff some cocaine or shoot-up some heroin.

The promise of escape and allure of all things prohibited makes drugs and alcohol almost irresistible. And with enticing names like devil drug, perfect high, love drug, joy juice, fantasy, putting the drugs on the pedestal, it’s easy to see why more people get drawn in.


The world of drugs may seem enticing. But sadly, drug use rarely ends well. Many people who try out hard drugs like heroin or cocaine often end up with tolerance and addiction. Just recently, the Pirates of the Caribbean actor, Johnny Depp said he started using drugs and alcohol when he was young and he’s been struggling with addiction throughout his life.

It’s always better to stay clean. But if you’re already using, you may benefit talking to an addiction treatment expert. Here are seven movies about drug addiction that will give you a glimpse into how addiction can ruin life.  

Requiem for A Dream (2000)

Requiem for a Dream is perhaps the most haunting drug film on addiction that you’ll ever see. It’s more of a nightmare than a dream. Unlike other films where characters overcome addiction, Requiem for a Dream shows how substance abuse inundates someone to the point where they’re unrecognizable. The movie is an effectively troubling depiction of drug use.

In the movie, Harry Goldfarb and Marion Silver play lovebirds who are either obsessed with their mutual love for heroin or their love for each other. Tyrone plays Harry’s drug-dealing partnerwho’s struggling with heroin addiction. Then, Sara Goldfarb rounds out as Jared’s mother who also struggles with an addiction to diet pills.

The director uses extreme close-ups to show how drugs act on his cast.  According to Roger Ebert’s review of the movie, “Sequences are done in fast-motion, to show how quickly the drugs take effect--and how disappointingly soon they fade. The in-between times edge toward desperation.”

Trainspotting (1996)

Humor might not seem to have a place in an addiction movie. But director Boyle can add just enough of it to make the dark moments more impactful. Trainspotting is an Academy Award-nominated film that follows a group of heroin addicts in Edinburgh and their passage through life. It is a critically acclaimed film that’s regarded by many critics as one of the best films of the 1990s.

It follows Mark Renton, his underage girlfriend Diane, and friends: dimbulb Spud, wannabe Sick Boy, psycho Begbie, and clean-cut Tommy. Begbie and Sick Boy are incredibly negative influences on Renton, and Tommy and Spud are victims of Renton’s selfishness.

In the film, Renton and his friends commit violent crimes to sustain their addiction lifestyle. But despite all the friends agreeing there’s no better feeling than being high, Renton attempts to get clean. He quickly realizes he can never quit using in his current environment. The problem is getting out of their influence is not as easy as moving to a new place.

The Basketball Diaries (1995)

The Basketball Diaries tells a story of Jim’s teenage years as an upcoming writer and school basketball player who develops an addiction to heroin. His life revolves around the basketball court, which becomes a metaphor for the world in his mind. With a homosexual coach, a sick, dying best friend, and an appetite for heroin, Jim’s dream of becoming a star remains just that – a dream.

Soon, he moves to the dark streets of New York and can’t go back home. Heroin is his only escape. Though he has to steal, rob, or sell himself to sustain his habit. But thanks to Reggie, an old friend, Jim gets the help he needs to regain control over his life.

Drugstore Cowboy (1989)

Our list of seven movies about drugs could not be complete without the Drugstore Cowboy. The Drugstore Cowboy is one of the first movies that showed gritty, urban drug abuse with all its associated despair on full display.

In the movie, Bob and his wife Diane love to use different prescription drugs like morphine and Dilaudid. So, they decide to steal the drugs from pharmacies in Portland, Oregon. But when a cop gets too close for comfort, they move the operation to another town.

Soon, Nadine, who is one of their crew members, dies of an OD. Bob decides he must leave his wife and friends and go straight. But it doesn’t get easier.

Last Days (2005)

Last Days is a story of Seattle music scene star, based loosely on Kurt Cobain, who led the band Nirvana. In the film, Blake, an artist is warping under the weight of fame, growing feelings of isolation and professional obligations. He wanders about a big stone house in the woods, walking aimlessly, preparing meals, and blocking out people. He’s lost interest in everything, including fame, money, friends, and even family.

The movie is an ultimate record of death by gradual exhaustion. It shows how people struggling with addiction often die with a whimper. Usually, they don’t even realize what’s happening.

Traffic (2000)

The Traffic film takes an exciting approach to drugs and drug use. It looks at drug use from three different angles. A conservative Supreme Court judge appointed as the nation’s Drug csar but unaware that his daughter abuses heroin.

Then two DEA agents are tracking the wife of an ex-drug dealer looking to take charge of the drug traffickers her husband did business with. And finally, a Mexican policeman who takes it upon himself to fight powerful cartels in his town.

Inspired by Traffik, which ran in in the 1990s and traced the heroin movement from Turkey to Europe, Traffic uses a level-headed approach. It observes, watches, and doesn’t do much editorializing. Most astonishing is the character who notes that 100,000 white people drive through black neighborhoods seeking drugs at any instance in the US. The character also observes that a person in the drug trade who earns $200 in two hours can hardly seek other employment.

Pure (2002)

Pure is a resolute portrait of the unbreakable bond between a loving son and an addicted mother. In the movie, Paul struggles through his teenage years after the death of his father.

Mel, his mother, is hooked on heroin and cannot look after him or his younger brother. Paul finds a friend in a young waitress, Louise. But she also has severe drug issues and can’t provide any solid help.

Faced with a persuasive policeman, violent dealers, and unreliable mother, he gradually comes to terms with his parent being an addict, but unflinchingly believes she can reform. In one painful scene, Mel tries to quit drugs cold turkey.

Paul is not to listen to her cries until she quits. He even nails her bedroom door shut. But it doesn’t end well.

Drugs are often associated with a decline in quality of life, but to what degree? You’ve probably heard of people losing their homes, friends, family, and jobs, and may be wondering if this is true for every drug addict.

We talked to former drug addicts, did as much research as possible, and feel qualified to tackle the topic of how drugs can affect your quality of life.

The Aspects of Life That Drugs Effect

While we could just say that drugs affect almost every aspect of your life, it feels important to break the topic down into smaller pieces and really dig into how drugs affect them.

Below you’ll find a list of categories commonly affected by drug addiction that we’ll touch on today.

  1. Finances
  2. Family Life and Friends
  3. Job and Work Relationships
  4. Legal Troubles
  5. Physical and Mental Health
  6. Time and Motivation

The list above does not encompass every aspect of life affected by drugs but does cover the most important and common categories of life that are affected.


Family life is one of the most impacted aspects of life for an addict.


Finances may not be the very first thing you think of when thinking of drug abuse; however, they often play a major role in a drug addicts’ life.

The first few times you use illegal drugs, you might not think it’s a big deal and might spend less than $100 total. At this point in time, it seems harmless financially. Everyone has hobbies and $100 every couple of weeks isn’t so bad for a new hobby that makes you temporarily feel good.

The problem is that almost all drugs have a tolerance effect. This means that you need to take more of the drug at a higher dosage in order to feel the same effects. Pretty soon, the $100 every two weeks you were spending on drugs becomes $100 every few days. Before you know it, you’re blowing through your savings, and spending thousands of dollars a month on drugs.


A drug habit can become very expensive to maintain.

At this point, you may realize that you can’t keep this up any longer. This is where most people turn to either crime or harder drugs.

Harder drugs like heroin can be much cheaper than something like prescription pills that you might have started on.

The allure of feeling that same type of “high” while saving money often leads people to start using these harder drugs, and unfortunately, the exact same cycle continues to occur.

Family Life and Friends

At first, using illegal drugs may not seem like a big deal. Many people think that they can hide their drug choices from their friends and family, but it frequently doesn’t last long.

As drug addiction increases, the need for money increases as well. You may start asking friends and family for money without being able to pay them back.

Using drugs will also become the number one priority in your life, coming before even family and friends.

You will have to lie to your family and friends in order to keep them from finding out why you’re not spending time with them. They will also start to wonder why you’re asking to borrow so much money.

Unfortunately, drug addiction often causes you to care more about getting high than spending time with friends or loved ones.

This leads to degraded relationships and even anger among friends and family.

Job and Work Relationships

Using illegal drugs and being able to keep your job may seem plausible at first, but as your drug addiction becomes stronger and stronger, your job will become less important to you. It becomes more about just getting through the day so you can get home and get high.

You might start to slack off at work or start leaving early. It may also be tempting to get high while at work to make the time pass faster.

If your workplace administers drug tests, you could fail and lose your job. No matter which way you look at it, drug addiction will eventually catch up to you, making you lose or quit your job.


Job performance can suffer greatly during an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Physical and Mental Health

One of the most important yet often overlooked aspects of drug abuse is its effects on your physical and mental health.

When people think of drug abuse health effects, they often only think of physical risks, such as heart attack, stroke, and blood pressure changes.

Illegal drugs can also cause potent and hazardous mental health issues, as well. It’s not uncommon for drugs to cause mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, hallucinations, and suicidal ideations.

These mental health risks can be especially heightened if you already have existing mental health problems.

Besides the mental health effects drugs directly cause, the loss of family, friends, money, and physical health are more than enough to cause depression and other mental issues.

Time and Motivation

Once you become heavily addicted to drugs, everything else takes a back-row seat, and sometimes even ceases to matter altogether. When all you want to do is get high every day it’s hard to have goals, priorities, and ambition in life.

Things such as relationships, money, work, goals, health, and education cease to be important. Lifelong goals take a backseat and are not worked towards anymore.

Time is wasted and goes by quickly, as once you are heavily addicted to drugs, you often take such a high dose that you are unable to normally function.


During an addiction, everything takes a back seat to your drug use.

Final Considerations

Although becoming addicted to drugs is very real and very serious, it doesn’t have to be something that you struggle with for the rest of your life. There are many places to get advice on drug addiction treatment help, which really works. In addition to this, if you find yourself tempted or pressured into using illegal drugs, make sure to stop now, before things get worse!

It’s 100% possible to break free from drug addiction, so if you or a loved one is affected by drug addiction stay strong and don’t give up hope!

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