Social Media Influence Drug Abuse


An equally important and pressing issue ties into substance abuse, specifically alcohol and drug addictions resulting from social media influence.  A study conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that teenagers who regularly use social media outlets were more prone to drink and use drugs than those who either did not use social media or used it less frequently.  Researchers surveyed  2,000 adolescents asking them about their drug use and social media habits, they discovered that compared to nonusers or infrequent users of social media, this group was: five times more likely to buy cigarettes, three times more likely to drink, and times as likely to use marijuana (Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 2019). There is no doubt that social media holds a respective amount of responsibility for these addictive and harmful behaviors. The question of “how can social media really drive a person towards substance use and abuse?” arises. Put simply the virtual networks create a space where a combination of pure substance-related media along with interactive and positive encouragement from peers allows for exposure to compulsive behaviors online (NCBI, 2016). During early- and mid-adolescence, the teenage brain undergoes a significant amount of neural growth and changes, consequently making it vulnerable to outside influences (Psychology Today, 2013). The glorified representation of being drunk and high are scattered all across the media, as companies attempt to take advantage of the developing child's minds (Child Mind Institute 2019). Children are exposed to these chemical devices and drinks online, as enterprises are instilling a false reality into adolescent heads.

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