Young people trying drugs, old and new, isn’t too uncommon. Unfortunately, this normalization of drug use has become more prevalent due to the growth of technology and the many ways to put these substances into circulation. Combined with the lack of awareness of the dangers of substances, the normalization of drug use has led to a rise in addiction and substance abuse in society. The only way to make a meaningful dent in the trends is to understand them, so let’s look into how the normalization of drug and alcohol use impacts individuals worldwide. 

Social Factors That Impact Drug or Alcohol Addiction

Drugs and alcohol existed for many years before our modern days. So why does it feel like the use of these substances has swept over young adults more than ever before? The answers might lie in the many rapid societal changes we’ve seen.

Gone are the days when you’re more likely to communicate with people in your community or surrounding neighborhood. Additionally, things like the traditional family structure have become less common. College life has turned into less of a desire to secure a degree and more of a focus on partying and drinking alcohol. These factors have all made alcohol and drugs much more common and available to individuals of younger ages.

From a sociocultural lens, drinking has become glorified as a fun and amusing activity, and less focus has been placed on educating about the risks of these substances. Even for something as dangerous as a DUI, significant punishment is unlikely for a first offense in the U.S. Other social factors that may cause individuals to turn to drugs or alcohol include:

  • Bonding
  • Stress Relief
  • Rebellion
  • Lifestyle Desires

Social Media’s Influence on Drug Use

In earlier days, stories used to only refer to things you heard from your neighbors or passed down from your family and friends. Now, stories represent snapshots of your life on various social media apps. The influence these apps have had on our lives has been immense, and one of the adverse effects is promoting lifestyle choices that lead individuals to choose addictive substances. 

Young teens growing up are looking for ways to blend in with the crowd and are turning to substances like drugs and alcohol to do so. Social media sites are ways to display to other friends how much “fun” individuals may have with illegal substances. Young children are looking to discover themselves and follow their friends down the path of drug use, looking to be “cool” and fit in with the crowd. Research has shown that teens using social media are five times as likely to buy cigarettes, three times as likely to drink, and two times as likely to use marijuana. This is a small snapshot, but it gives a glimpse into just how influential social media can be. 

Media Portrays Drugs as a Coping Mechanism

In conjunction with social media sites, mainstream media has also contributed to portraying drugs as coping mechanisms for stress and pain. Celebrities often pose consuming drugs online, but it goes deeper than just what people post on their private pages.

Consider some of our favorite movies that promote drug use as characters pour themselves a drink or grab a cigarette when they’re going through hardship. Or think about shows where drugs help characters boost their confidence and help lead to their success. Unfortunately, many examples like this have been ingrained in the minds of individuals, leading them to believe that drugs are the way to ensure comfort through harsh times. 

Steps to Recovery Can Help You Avoid Addictive Substances

Society and community can be beneficial to our lives, but they can also lead some individuals down paths that glorify addictive substances. Fortunately, addiction treatment centers like Steps to Recovery can provide various programs and therapy for those in need. We help people feel comfortable and a part of a group of others who care for their well-being and allow them to remove themselves from the shackles of various addictive substances. Contact us, and we’ll help negate the normalization of drugs and help you regain control of your life. Give us a call today at 267.209.7312 for more information on our alcohol rehab programs and the many other ways we can help you, a family member, or a friend in need.