Will a hard partying drugs & alcohol lifestyle when young impact health in later years?

In listening to some radio interviews and podcasts of interviews of older, popular musicians, actors and various noted people in entertainment they often reference the absolutely epic amount of drugs and alcohol they consumed in their 20 and 30’s and with some even into their 40’s. Several had been thorough rehab and cleaned up their acts by their mid to late 30’s to early 40’s. A lot of these people who are now in their 50’s an 60’s and occasionally their 70’s and are tying to “live clean” now.

Hypothetically if you live a drug infused lifestyle in your teens to your 30’s but clean up your act by your early to mid 30’s will your body repair itself or is some damage permanent and will impact your health as you age into your 50’s 60’s and beyond?

Most drugs aren’t harmful, especially decades later. A lot of the supposed negative effects of rec drugs are due to the lifestyle of an addict.

Alcoholism will cause way more physical harm than an illegal drug habit.

The one exception is infections like HepC caused by sharing syringes, but isn’t related to the drugs themselves.

Also smoking. I quit a few years ago after a 40- year habit (non-filters). I walk daily, but my lung capacity is not good.

Test it for us. We need first hand reports of abuse of the results of this life style.
You know that there are no reliable studies about this. It has been proven that 99.9% of the population will suffer no harm. NA groups are a total waste of time. Their is no social or legal problem with living like that because crude has the Straight Dope.

You know it is the answer you want so go for it and report back in a few years or 10. We’ll be waiting… :smiley:

It seems to be a difficult question to answer - it’s hard to isolate the effect of the drugs from all of the things that are associated with drug use. This includes making numerous poor health choices including poor diet, as well as bad sleep habits, poor exercise habits, hygiene things etc.

Heroin rots your teeth I’m pretty sure. Coke wears away part of your nose. those things don’t just grow back after you quit drugs.

Actually, the herion thing I need to revisit; I think the teeth rotting away may be due to some secondary effect of herion use,

Would you believe The Lancet?

Guess which drug is on top, it is legal is a hint.

EDIT:I disagree with one item there, butane. Butane is not a drug in the traditional sense, and the intoxicating effects can’t be separated from oxygen deprivation to the brain.

I think alcohol gets a little bit of a bad rap here. You can drink alcohol in moderation - and most people do. If you’re doing crack or herion you’re pretty much all in - there’s not really any equivalent do a beer after work. Have you ever heard anyone say, “I just like to come home from a hard day of work and unwind with an eight ball,”?

To what was said above: Yes, heavy alcohol and cigarette use are the things that are most likely to take you out of the game before your time, either through death or just excessive physical and mental damage. Heroin will kill you, but I don’t think that serious heroin abuse is actually all that common as it might be assumed.

Survivorship bias: The guys you are seeing in their 60s and 70s and still performing are the rare lucky ones whose bodies didn’t succumb to heavy use of alcohol and cigarettes, or stopped just in time.

Many more didn’t have the talent, the physical constitution, and the luck to make it to that point. Along the way are the ones who died young, or the ones whose alcohol use killed their talent.

I agree with that to an extent if you’re talking about usual patterns of use.

But the OP was about lasting damage decades after quitting, I mean if you used heroin or cocaine and quit for decades there isn’t really any lasting damage, if you didn’t fatally OD of course(the same could be said for alcohol though).

I don’t encourage drug abuse, in case that needs to be said.

Well, lets do apples & apples instead.

X number of people, one group starts drinking. The other ½ start using heroin.

Another group splits using crystal meth and the other huffs paint.

Now, each must reach intoxication every day for a year.

Which group will have more survivors?

In shear numbers alcohol will have the most numbers, it is legal, socially accepted and many more heavy drinkers will not become alcoholics by definition as per any five cites you care to produce on what constitutes intoxication which will be applied across all 4 drugs.

Or we can make heroin legal, socially acceptable and have as many people use it as are now drinking.
The drinking group will be now illegal, socially unacceptable and the same numbers as the first set up.

Little old ladies who have a glass of wine will now take a heroin hit. Not just problem drinkers. Heroin is just a benign as alcohol or say cocaine… Right?

Think alcohol would still be the worst?

As a recovering alcoholic of 24 years and having seen many more, the number of old people with 30-40 years of clean living after 20 years of hard hard drinking, lose it all living in the street for years drinking are so many in number compared to to active drug addicts with 20 years of hard use who then have 30-40 years of clean lives and doing fine, well, they are really hard to find. I know not why since drug use is not as bad long term as is alcohol. As that study claims.

Addiction in many cases are bad. Some addictions are not as much a problem. Working crossword puzzles seldom ruins marriages costs the person their job, home, etc… It is no less an addiction and you can abuse crossword puzzles if you really work at it.

The graph shows alcohol leading all other drugs when harm to users is combined with harm to others. If you look only at harm to users, heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamines are worse than alcohol.

Also, I wish the numbers in the graph were better-explained. Do they show the total harm for each drug, or the harm per user? If it’s the former, I would expect alcohol to cause more harm than other drugs because it’s more widely-used.

This doesn’t seem like a sensible standard to me. It doesn’t take into account actual behavior.

And what about all the other kinds of intoxicating behaviors and substances? Marijuana, magic mushrooms, ecstasy, quaaludes, amphetamines, cough syrup, and the fact that people doing all these things are probably also abusing alcohol?

Yes, if you take as much heroin as an alcoholic drinks booze, you would be lucky to last a week, but I don’t think
that’s the point.

A lot has to do with how the drug is consumed. Practically no one is consuming pure ethanol, it’s typically “diluted” in the form of beer, wine, or other relatively low-alcohol beverages, and even hard liquor is typically 50% or less alcohol by content. Nor are people typically injecting alcohol directly into their bloodstream.

Not too sure about the opiates, but for cocaine, the original use of it was chewing coca leaves, or making it into a tea, which has a much lower dose of the active ingredient, absorbed relatively slowly. In this form it can be used recreationally and seems to be about as damaging as coffee or tea, and somewhat similar in use.

The Skeptics Guide To The Universe podcast current (523) episode includes a discussion comparing biological and chronological age.

It was noted by physicians that patients who appeared much older than stated age the two factors most often associated were current obesity and alcohol use.

It is meth that rots your teeth. Seen it a lot as a dentist. As for heroin and other drugs my take is that often the drug users eat mainly sugary things and when they get decay they don’t fix it because they often aren’t in pain from it.(due to the drugs)

Don’t some drugs mess with the heart muscles which can later lead to heart attack or stroke?

Pre-existing occult cardiovascular disease can become problematic under the effects of cocaine.

Maybe you’ll pay later, maybe you’re the one who can smoke 2 packs a day and swill cheap bourbon and live to 100.

People who enjoy their youths are way ahead of those who studiously avoid anything unseemly.

“Eat right, stay fit, die anyway”.

Jerry Garcia made it to 53 - not a small accomplishment.

If I knew I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.
Mickey Mantle, (attributed)
US baseball player (1931 - 1995)

Live fast, die in late middle age with a ravaged body, looking 20 years older.