Most disturbing transformation photos of people that were addicted to narcotics.
It’s hard to think of any drug prevention strategy more effective than simply being exposed to a real drug addict. Witnessing the degradation and deterioration of a drug abuser whose addiction has taken its toll offers a first-hand perspective on just how powerless certain people are against the potent sway of heavy drugs, not to mention the toll that they take on the body.
In 2014, drug treatment assistance website Rehabs.com put together a graphic, stunning compilation of photos that captured the physical regression of chronic drug abusers through their head shots. This rather pointed effort, which gathered the mug shots of those arrested multiple times for drug- and/or drug-related offenses, served to highlight the potentially catastrophic health effects of drug abuse in a raw, visceral and impactful manner.
Physical changes seen through these images include skin lesions, decayed or missing teeth, open sores and premature aging, among other noticeable symptoms. It is important to note that not all of the deterioration and facial change seen within these people is necessarily the cause of drug use, but illicit substances have surely assumed at least some responsibility for the visible toll taken on these 10 individuals.
The Rehabs.com webpage aimed to serve as a source of education and inspiration, not only for those who came upon it but also for the addicts featured on the site. Lest anyone feel that the images are being used to shame, embarrass or exploit those in need of help, the website includes a disclaimer that not only invites users to request the removal of their photo, but also offers financial assistance for those seeking treatment.
It also acknowledges that the images shown represent only the most extreme cases of drug abuse, but makes sure to mention that those featured in the images likely never anticipated such a slippery slope towards extreme addiction.
The statistics on drug abuse are pretty stunning. In 2013, over 24 million people reported that they had taken illicit drugs or abused prescription medication in just the past month alone.
One year earlier, more than 1.7 million people had been admitted into treatment programs for substance abuse. While certainly representing a staggering number, that doesn’t address the vast majority of drug users in need of help. And although statistics can be impactful in their own right, the personal cost of drug abuse is probably best represented in the faces of those most affected by it.
Different drugs carry their own common side effects. Meth is known to cause facial wasting and open sores, cocaine can be an appetite suppressant and lead to weight loss, ecstasy often causes teeth grinding and even marijuana can age and pale the skin over time with excessive use. But even more than the symptoms of any one drug, the most damaging impact of substance abuse might be the mental side of the addiction, where recreating that high becomes a driving force in the addict’s life and leads to self-neglect.
These 10 addicts wear the heavy cost of their drug abuse on their faces, plain for anyone to see.