Social Media’s Heavy-Handed Influence on Teen Drug Abuse

Snapchat and Instagram were named the most important social media apps by teens, followed closely by Facebook. Teens want to impress their friends, as well as strangers, online through social media by looking like they have a more exciting life. Social media just might be the most powerful, albeit inadvertent, form of peer pressure yet.

Social Media’s Heavy Influence

According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 90% of teens are initially exposed to pictures of peers drinking and doing drugs on social media before they reach 15. Teens who see these images which scrolling through their social feeds are three times likelier to drink alcohol, three times as likely to illegally procure prescription drugs, and four times as likely to use marijuana.

Easier to Get Drugs through Social Media

Teens that use social media on a regular basis are able to access substances, like prescription drugs and alcohol, more readily than teens who don’t. These teenagers are also more likely to have friends who drink and abuse prescription and illegal drugs.

The Internet Lies

A teen sitting at home alone on a weekend will scroll through their Instagram or Snapchat and look at all the “fun” that their peers and celebrities are having at parties and clubs. They might start feeling like that’s what they need to do to have a good time or be more social. No one takes into account that these are mere snapshots of one moment. In actuality many photos are posed and six second videos could catch a great time that quickly goes wrong.

Cyber-Bullying Leads to Substance Abuse

It’s not just the photos popping up that can create a substance abuse problem because of social media. 19 percent of teens say they’ve been cyber bullied at some point through social media. Compared to teens who have not been cyber bullied, these teens are twice as likely to use marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco.

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