The Effects of Drugs on Sperm | Banyan Philadelphia

The Effects of Drugs on Sperm

The Effects of Drugs on Sperm

Drugs can have serious effects on the male reproductive system.

The effects of drugs on sperm include disruption in testosterone production and a decrease in sperm production. Drugs such as supplemental testosterone, anabolic steroids, marijuana, and opiates affect a male’s sperm quality. When sperm count, movement, and quality are tampered with, it can decrease the chances of reproducing and cause other side effects. Infertility can lead to health problems and problems with your spouse. To avoid infertility, individuals who are struggling with substance abuse might need to participate in a partial hospitalization program in order to recover.

At Banyan Philadelphia, we provide several programs to treat individuals who are battling with addiction.

Drugs That Affect Male Fertility

Supplemental Testosterone

Testosterone is one of the main drugs that affect sperm quality and production. When a man takes supplemental or replacement testosterone, the hormones that normally signal the testicles when to produce testosterone are disrupted, stopping his natural testosterone production. This leads to a rapid drop in testosterone levels in the testicles, slowing down the production of sperm. Low sperm count or even a complete lack of sperm in the semen can result in this change.1

Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids are drugs that are used to build up muscle mass and decrease body fat. As a result, the use of steroids has increased in both athletes and non-athletes. Steroids are especially known for their negative impact on male fertility. The use of steroids affects the male reproductive system in the same way testosterone does. It disrupts hormonal signals to the testicles and prevents the production of sperm; they can also cause the testicles to shrink. They can increase testosterone levels in the bloodstream, which causes the body to produce less of it.2


Marijuana, or cannabis, has been shown to negatively impact male fertility by affecting the hypothalamus, spermatogenesis, and sperm function, and testes. In a study conducted in 2015, results concluded that the regular use of marijuana was associated with a decrease in semen quality.3 THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, can harm the production of sperm and the movement of sperm. As a result, the production of testosterone is interrupted and sexual drive weakens. Because it is often purchased illegally on the streets, marijuana is often laced with other drugs and substances that can harm sperm.


Opiates, or narcotics, include prescription medications and illegal drugs. Opiates are normally prescribed to treat severe pain when no other form of medication has helped. These substances, when misused, can be harmful to the body, especially to the reproductive system. Opiates and male fertility are therefore not a good mix. Narcotics can prevent the body from releasing the signals that control testosterone production. This can lead to low levels of testosterone and a decrease in the quality of sperm and sperm count.

The effects of drugs on sperm can prevent the male reproductive system from functioning normally. Programs like our opiate treatment and prescription drug treatment can help individuals battling drug addiction learn about the source of their addiction and the best way to overcome it.

If you or a loved one are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction and want to get help, give us a call today: 888-966-9413


    1. NIH- Common medications and drugs: how they affect male fertility
    2. WOL- The Insults of Illicit Drug Use on Male Fertility
    3. NIH- Changes in human spermatozoa associated with high dose marihuana smoking
Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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