The Metropolitan Police in the United Kingdom have come up with a unique way of showing the health damage from the use of illicit drugs.
In a series of before and after photos of young women that used cocaine the severe aging is clear.
The damaged faces of the women are shown at the police web site and have been produced on posters, beer mats and nightclub flyers.
The shocking images showing the degenerative effects of drug use indicate that drug use can prematurely age young women in as little at 3 years of drug use.
One teenager looks 20 years older after using cocaine.
(Drug damage images are at www.met.police.uk/drugs/crackdown.htm)
All illicit drug users suffer physical harm and damaged looks are one of the health consequences.
However premature aging from using illicit drugs means rising health costs to the community as medical conditions normally associated with aging are brought forward to an earlier stage in life.
Cannabis is known to suppress the human immune system and to cause cancer so the health risks extend beyond aging.
By using our courts to divert illicit drug users into detoxification and rehabilitation we can help users to avoid these future health burdens and save costs to the community.
These premature aging images MUST be used by Australian governments as part of their drug prevention education campaigns to turn teenagers away from future drug use.