There are so many factors involved in someone’s decision to start using drugs and developing an addiction—many of which are extremely complex. While there is no simple way to predict a person’s likelihood of developing an addiction, it can be helpful to understand some of these factors when working towards prevention or treatment.
While family history plays a significant role in someone’s likelihood of developing an addiction, there are several environmental factors to keep in mind that can influence someone’s decision to start using drugs to begin with.
When teens are surrounded by friends and peers who are engaging in risky behaviors, they can often be tempted to participate. This peer pressure is a significant environmental factor in why someone might try drugs.
In fact, recent research shows that when making decisions, teens evaluate risk and reward differently that adults do in that risk is often ignored in favor of reward. Put simply, the risk associated with drug use is often ignored in favor of the approval a teen will receive from their friends.
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The actions of family members—not just their genes—also have a significant influence on a teen’s behavior towards drugs. In fact, children of individuals addicted to drugs are 3-4 times more likely to develop a drug addiction themselves. This is generally because there is often a neglect in parenting, and the children begin to accept drug culture as normal. Some teens might even be able to access drugs from their parents. Therefore, as a parent, it’s especially important to behave as a role model and to take this responsibility seriously.
Unfortunately, economic status can also play a role in whether or not a teen is more likely to engage in drug abuse. According to the Partnership for Drug-Free America, communities that have high rates of poverty also tend to have high rates of drug abuse.
Ultimately, the argument of whether or not someone is “predisposed” to addiction is still up for debate. It is clear, however, that there are many environmental factors that increase the risk of a person developing an addiction.
Feature Image Reuben Degiorgio