While not surprising, there are actually many factors that play into and lead up to substance abuse.
What Causes People To Use Drugs And Alcohol
Substance abuse, including tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs, is costing the nation over $600 billion per year in relation to crime, lost work productivity and healthcare. Aside from the cost, substance abuse is taking precious lives. Harmful use of alcohol results in the death of 2.5 million people annually, not to mention causing illness and injuries to millions more. As for drugs, they are responsible for taking more victims than motor vehicle accidents, with an estimated 38,329 people dying from overdose in 2010.
There are several factors that cause people to use drugs or alcohol:
- Environment: The amount that drugs are used or promoted in the environment is often a direct parallel to how much they are used. This could be as simple as having a loved one or family member that one looks up to who is using drugs. This may make it look like drugs are safe or give them some kind of value. Drugs could also be promoted in the media through social media, television or radio. There are also other environmental connections as the general community’s view on drugs and addiction or how prevalent they are in the area in which one lives.
- Relief From Stress: Many people start experimenting with drugs as a means of self-medication. Teens often experience feelings of stress from school, relationships, and troubles at the home. They soon come to realize that getting drunk or high can take their attention away from whatever is bothering them at the time. Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol do not make problems go away.
- Peer Pressure: Everyone is familiar with peer, and has probably experienced it at some point in their life. Peer pressure is particularly a problem with kids and teens, wanting to fit in with their peers. If the “in” crowd is using drugs and alcohol, chances are that there are going to be many kids who will do the same so that they feel like they are part of the group.
- Changes In The Home: As mentioned above, changes in the home such as a divorce, new parent/siblings can have a major impact on a child. A loss can do the same or a situation where a child is continually moving or changing what they are doing.
With all of these factors it is clear that many people are exposed to the problem. Even with this there are ways to prevent drug use including education and prevention. There are also ways to stop an ongoing problem through effective rehab.