Before and After Alcohol and Drug Addiction Photos

Millions of Americans are trapped in a cycle of drug abuse and addiction: In 2013, over 24 million reported that they had abused illicit drugs or prescription medication in just the past month.1 More than 1.7 million were admitted to treatment programs for substance abuse in 2012.2 The pursuit of a drug habit can cost these people everything – their friends and family, their home and livelihood. And nowhere is that impact more evident than in the faces of addicts themselves.

Here, the catastrophic effects are plain to see, with photos of people before and after addiction including distortions like skin scabs and decaying teeth.3 While meth is often seen as one of the most visibly destructive drugs, leading to facial wasting and open sores on the pictures of meth users before and after the drug,4 various other illicit drugs, and even prescription medications can cause equally severe symptoms when continuously abused. The use of opioids like OxyContin or heroin can cause flushing and a rash of red bumps all over the skin,5 while cocaine abuse can result in a significant drop in appetite and dangerous malnutrition and weight loss.Ecstasy may cause grinding of teeth,and smoking cannabis releases carcinogens and other chemicals that can diminish skin collagen and produce an appearance of premature aging.8 Even alcohol abuse can lead to wrinkles, redness, and loss of skin elasticity.9


Although the faces of drug addiction pictured here can be harrowing alone in their depiction of the potential decline in appearance, addiction can cause a lot of other damage. The compulsion of addiction makes drug use the most important purpose in someone’s life, leading them to pursue it at any cost and treat anything else as secondary. Self-neglect becomes normal as well as ignoring other responsibilities like those to their job or family. As a result, addiction may cause irreversible damages that extends far beyond a person’s physical appearance.

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The individuals in these before and after drug addiction photos were arrested on drug charges or related charges. There may be errors in arrest record reporting. All persons are considered innocent of these charges until proven guilty. These photos do not necessarily just show people after drugs and addiction; rather, they depict the physical deterioration of individuals who have been involved in repeated arrests, indicative of a life of crime and/or substance abuse.

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If any individuals depicted are seeking treatment for addiction, please contact us. will work with you and we are willing to provide financial assistance.

These addiction before and after photos are also extreme cases. While it is true that most occasional users would not display these symptoms of deterioration, it is worth considering that the individuals in these photos likely never thought their casual use would result in hardcore addiction. That is how powerful the disease of addiction is, and how devastating it can be to those who fall victim to its effects.

These faces of addiction shown above can be alarming and disturbing, but there is hope for recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, it is time to ask for help. You can call or text our admissions navigators to get started on the road to recovery.

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