available 24/7, 365

(888) 989-1479

Effects of Drug Abuse on the Skeletal System

Table of Contents

The effects of drug abuse on the body do not take into consequence a person’s gender, lifestyle or personal situation.  Drug abuse damages physical and mental health in many ways. While most people are aware of the effects of drug abuse on the liver and brain, not everyone realizes the damage that drugs can cause to the skeletal system.

Effects of Drug Abuse on the Skeletal System

There are a variety of consequences of drug abuse on the human body.  Here are a few of the complications that can be caused to the skeletal system.


Osteomyelitis, or bone infection, has been linked to intravenous drug abuse. Over time, osteomyelitis can cause disability by destroying bones from the inside out. Osteomyelitis is associated with the use of dirty needles and contaminated drugs, such as heroin and methamphetamine.


Scientists have long known about the effects of drug abuse on bone density. Osteoporosis is often caused by the malnutrition seen in long-term stimulant users. People addicted to cocaine and methamphetamine commonly go for long periods without eating and consume low-quality foods when they do eat. Opiate addiction has been linked to osteopenia, or reduced bone density, which can precede full-blown osteoporosis.

TMJ and Dental Deterioration

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), dental damage and decay are associated with stimulant abuse. TMJ and tooth damage are often due to habitual teeth-grinding related to stimulation and stress. Smoking crack and methamphetamine are also known to affect the saliva glands, reducing protection from tooth decay.


Malnutrition among users is often responsible for the effects of drug abuse on joint health. The most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, is associated with nutrient deficiencies that reduce the body’s ability to repair itself. Levels of vitamin C, a primary nutrient involved in joint repair, are often low in people exposed to chronic stress, such as drug abuse.

See also  The Effects of Drug Abuse on Your Teeth

Effects of Drug Abuse on the Spine

Spinal health is often reduced by long-term poor postural habits, such as slouching. The effects of drug abuse on posture are especially visible in users of depressants, such as opiates. In stimulant users, chronic muscle tension can make correct, relaxed posture impossible. Over time, these issues weaken the spine’s supporting muscles and increase the risk of spinal injury from routine lifting.

These are not the only skeletal problems caused by drug abuse. Any time malnutrition occurs, systemic health problems can result. Due to the high nutritional needs of the skeletal system, it is likely to suffer in the face of poor diet. Compounded by the other effects of drug abuse on the bones, the skeletal system of drug abusers can end up devastated.

If you or someone you love is suffering alcohol abuse and alcoholism, substance dependency or any type of addiction, please call us today.  Our addiction treatment counselors can help you deal with physical, emotional and psychological consequences of drug and alcohol abuse.

Substance abuse treatment is effective, safe and has helped many men reclaim their lives. Destination Hope is a full service drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Florida for men suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues.

Give us a call

Help is one step away

100% Confidential | 24/7 Helpline

Addiction & Mental Health Topics

Managing Chronic Pain Without Opioids in Recovery

Setting Healthy Boundaries in Recovery

The Importance of Self-Care in Maintaining Sobriety

Overcoming the Stigma of Addiction and Seeking Help

How to Handle a Loved One’s Relapse and Support Their Recovery

The Link Between Addiction and Trauma

What Is the DEA?

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

Understanding Kratom and Kratom Addiction

Does Kratom Show Up in a Drug Test?