Recreational Drug Use – what are the insurance issues?
Drug addiction is a disease. This has shown to alter the brain’s circuits, which can affect human behaviour. These brain changes will interfere one’s ability to make voluntary decisions, which leads to drug craving, seeking and frequent use.
Use of drugs can be categorised into 5 areas:
1. Abstinent – No use is made
2. Controlled – People have made a conscious decision, have evaluated the risks and can stop if they want
3. Impulsive – Use is unpredictable and can lead to unexpected accidents and harm. However, there is not continual use or dependency
4. Habitual – The use of drugs has become a significant and important part of the person’s life-style. Stopping would not be easy
5. Dependent – There is a high degree of physical and psychological addiction. Drug use disrupts or rules the person’s life. Stopping is not possible without considerable support.
There are physical, psychological and social problems associated with drug use that concern insurers:
· Physical complications of drug use include brain damage, lung damage, stomach damage, and damage to all the internal organs of the abdomen. It can also cause skin, muscle and nerve damage. A wide range of illnesses are associated with drug use including cancers, infections, trauma, ulceration, diabetes, cirrhosis and others. The list of physical illnesses caused by drug use is endless.
· Psychologically, drug use can precipitate all kinds of psychiatric illnesses from schizophrenia to manic depression (bipolar disorder) to depression, anxiety and panic attacks.
· In terms of social problems, drug use may be responsible for unemployment, financial problems and legal problems.
Obviously, admitting there’s a problem is half of solving the problem. Having got the right help is the next phase.
Only after a sustained period of control will an insurer be comfortable to consider any cover. This is likely to at a higher cost depending on which of the above categories apply.