The internet has made the world more connected. Social media sites are there to facilitate these connections, giving everyone a chance to talk to people all over the world, be entertained by content and show themselves to the world.
In a world that is constantly evolving, to combat addiction, it’s important to view it in the context of the modern world, and social media is a huge pillar of that. By looking at addiction and social media as linked issues, you can better fight it in yourself and others.
Is There a Link Between Drugs and Social Media?
As the internet and, by extension, social media have become so integral to everyday life, a link between that and drugs is clearer than it once was. A Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation (DSM) survey found that 58% of 18-year-olds had seen drugs sold online. Furthermore, 1 in 5 13–14-year-olds have seen the same thing.
This continued connection between drugs and social media has also led to more issues. In a study from last year, the London Violence Reduction Unit found that drugs and social media were driving homicides in the capital.
In more traditional media – newspapers, films, TV – drugs are portrayed negatively. Social media is a freer space where drugs are more likely to be seen in a positive light. You can see images and videos of people partying, smoking joints and doing other drugs – normalising the behaviour.
Social media’s influence on drug culture is also apparent in the selling of it. Sites like SnapChat employ a feature where messages are deleted after being read. Now, people can buy drugs from the comfort of their room over social media – no longer needing to rely on family and friends. This ease of access can make it easier for people to become addicted to drugs.
Is Social Media a Trigger for Drug Use?
Social media, besides having a larger picture influence on addictive behaviour, can be a direct trigger for drug use.
Social media can cause FOMO (fear of missing out) as you can see others doing things you are not. In the case of seeing people partying or taking drugs, it may make it seem like everyone is doing it but you. This can influence your behaviour – making you more likely to take drugs when you know you shouldn’t
Through social media, you can easily see the activity of dealers and users, companies advertising alcohol and media that glamorises drug use. This exposure may trigger you to use drugs.
Influencers Promoting Drug Use
Celebrities party like everyone else. Music subcultures, such as mumble rap, revolve around taking drugs like Xanax. Seeing your idols indulge in alcohol and drugs may lead you to see it as an aspirational activity.
Online Support Communities for Drug Abuse
With the dark, is also the light. Social media has also provided the opportunity for people to provide support to those who may not know where to get it.
Communities, even online ones, are a great tool for addiction recovery. By connecting with others, you can see that you are not alone on your journey. They provide emotional support in times of need and help keep you on the straight and narrow. Connecting with others also gives you the chance to help others and create more positive relationships, long after drug rehab.
A few examples of where individuals can find online support include (but are not limited to):
- Reddit has many subreddits around addiction issues, including r/addiction and r/stopdrinking, to help people suffering.
- TikTok is used to help people with addictions. An ex-convict from Swindon uses the app to mentor those who need help.
- Instagram has teamed up with With You, a drug charity, and influencer Chunkz to help younger people struggling with addiction.
Strategies for a Healthier Online Presence
If you are in recovery and want to prevent relapses, having a more positive relationship with social media is best. At first, it may seem like a big issue, but there are simple things you can do.
Don’t Start Your Day Online
Checking your social media at the beginning of the day can be a built-in part of your routine. Scrolling down through Facebook or Twitter can fill your head with all manner of things before you’ve had your morning day. Rather than reaching for the phone, you can do something more productive like making yourself breakfast or meditating – these acts will put you in a more positive mind space.
Putting boundaries on your time spent on social media will show you improve your relationship with it. By setting limits, you can see how much time was being spent on it. This will help you ensure your life doesn’t revolve around social media.
Prune Your Feed
You don’t have to stay off social media altogether to enjoy life. Instead, get rid of the things that make you feel bad. Unfollow and block drug-related content and stuff that makes you feel bad. To have a positive relationship with social media, make sure the things you are looking at on there are positive.
Resources and Helplines for Drug Addiction
When it comes to looking at addiction treatments, casting your net wide is a good idea.
We at Addiction Advocates are a referral service that helps those suffering from addiction of all kinds. With a large network of rehab centres at our fingertips, we can find the right treatment environment for anyone. Our goal is to provide you with the best chance of achieving long-term recovery.
Beyond us, there are many resources available to help you on your recovery journey. Contacting your local GP and getting an appointment is always a good first step. They can provide you with information on resources in the local area and help with next steps.
Numerous helplines and online resources are available to anyone and are completely free. These include:
- FRANK – offer confidential information and advice about drugs. Call 0300 123 6600.
- Narcotics Anonymous – find a support meeting near you. 0300 999 1212.
- Adfam – support for friends and family of people with drug addiction issues.
Get in Touch Today
The social media impact on addiction cannot be ignored in today’s world. Whilst social media can be a place where drugs are glamorised and make them more accessible, they also provide a space for people to get the support they need. Effective addiction treatment is available, and we can help you find the perfect option for you, no matter unique your needs are.
If you want to know more about drugs and social media or need information on private drug and alcohol rehabs, then contact Addiction Advocates now. Call 0800 012 6088 or text HELP to 83222 to get through to the team.
-  linked to facilitating drug abuse in the UK - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5686417/
-  1 in 5 13–14-year-olds have seen the same thing - https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/drugs-young-people-social-media-b1949196.html
-  ex-convict from Swindon - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-64458282
-  Instagram has teamed up with With You - https://www.wearewithyou.org.uk/media/press-releases/social-media-influencer-chunkz-teams-up-with-instagram-and-with-you-to-raise-awareness-of-drug-issues-for-young-people/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_content=ap_yjvmi5kobm
-  FRANK - https://www.talktofrank.com/get-help
-  Narcotics Anonymous - https://ukna.org/content/welcome-ukna
-  Adfam - http://adfam.org.uk