Social Media’s Impact On Teen Drug Use

Social media such as Facebook and Twitter have, combined with the power of cameras on every cell phone, have began to capture every since facet of life these days. People know who was what which party, what they had for dinner, where they have been, who is in a relationship with who… almost everything.

Spawning Issues

One issue that has started to come about within social media is teens who show themselves drinking or using drugs, and thus inspiring other teens within the same circles to likewise use drugs and alcohol. They feel social pressure from what looks like the other person having a good time and feel left out, like they are not a part of something that is popular.

Studies have been done on this situation wherein teens were interviewed on this and were asked if they felt that they had been pressured into using drugs and alcohol. A staggering 75% said that they had in fact been pressured to do so under those circumstances, i.e. seeing someone else they know using drugs or alcohol over a social media site and wanting to do it themselves.

Connections

It has also been estimated that about 85% of teens in United States high schools know someone else who they go to school with that is using drugs, tobacco or alcohol. 50% of teens know someone who sells drugs. Around 50% of the students as well know a place to go to before or after school, or between classes, that is near campus where they can do drugs or drink if they wanted to. And lastly, just over a third of students believe that it is easy to do drugs and not get caught while at school.

Of those students who know a student dealer at school, almost all of them said that pot was sold on campus, maybe a third claimed that prescription drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin was sold on campus, 9% said cocaine, and lastly, about 7% said they knew someone who sold or had bought Ecstasy on campus.

Effecting Treatment

It has even been discussed that teens who use social networking sites while they are in treatment for substance abuse can affect them very negatively. It comes about by giving relapse triggers to them, reminding them of the old days while they watch their friends post pictures and status updates about being at a party or getting high. They feel they are left out of the good times that were once had, temporarily forgetting why they are in treatment to begin with, and feel that what they are doing is a waste of time.

A survey was done in a certain drug treatment facility where there were several youth receiving help for their drug-related problems. 37 youth were interviewed, aged 12 to 18 years of age, and the youth surveyed were pretty equally boys and girls. Nearly all of them used social networking websites, despite they were middle- to low-income. About half reported that themselves had posted drug-related content, and all of them that used social networking sites said that their friends posted drug related content online.

It seems to be difficult for teens to get away from it, what with everyone using social networking sites these days. The more teens post about their usage online, the more people get affected by it and the more their peers want to join in on the situation. The more the information about this problem is spread around, the more teens will become aware of the fact that what they are doing and what they are viewing is having more and more of a negative effect on them. 

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