Article Summary: The idea that using social media like Facebook, MySpace or Twitter can make a person more susceptible to drug use and drug addiction or alcoholism isn't a new one. In fact, in the eighties and early nineties people unreasonably feared that watching cartoons and sitcoms could lead to drug abuse. In the late nineties and early 2000s people feared that chat rooms were the source of drug problems.

The idea that using social media like Facebook, MySpace or Twitter can make a person more susceptible to drug use and drug addiction or alcoholism isn't a new one. In fact, in the eighties and early nineties people unreasonably feared that watching cartoons and sitcoms could lead to drug abuse. In the late nineties and early 2000s people feared that chat rooms were the source of drug problems. Today, people have begun to associate social media - especially Facebook - with an increased propensity for drug abuse. However, examination of the evidence doesn't support this association, and if it does the correlation is anecdotal at best.

In a recent study conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse a group of one thousand teenagers were surveyed about their experiences with drugs, alcohol and tobacco. The study reported that teens who used Facebook the most often displayed increased tendencies to be narcissistic, aggressive, depressed, manic and antisocial. Because these behaviors and conditions are often associated with drug abuse, the study drew the correlation therefore that regular Facebook users are more prone to abuse drugs.

However, the association is likely to have been there regardless of the activity being measured. Meaning, any group of depressed, angry or otherwise compromised people will be more likely to turn to drugs to alleviate their problems. The question must therefore be asked then: Is the association between Facebook and drug use any different than any other associations? Certainly using Facebook doesn't cause drug addiction, and if that's the case then these association aren't really associations at all . . .

Consider if you will the famous "ice cream theory" regarding the crippling disease of Polio. At the time, scientists assumed that because people who suffered from polio lived in areas where ice cream consumption was often high, that consumption of ice cream was a contributing factor to polio. However, today we know this as nothing more than a coincidence, and it's likely that the association with Facebook and substance abuse is similar.

However, one plausible part of this theory of social media and drug use association is the anonymity that computers afford drug abusers. Drug users often become antisocial in an effort to disguise their problem, but computers allow them to maintain a drug habit while still being able to maintain a social life online and remain undetected. This is a serious issue to consider because in some cases people may withdraw completely into a world of drug use and computer-based relationships. These types of artificial relationships can lead to further depression and mania and exacerbate the drug problem even more.

Some people who have postulated the Facebook and substance abuse theory have claimed that because people can see pictures of their friends drinking and using drugs (if they're unintelligent enough to post such pictures) they will be more likely to use drugs themselves. The theory here is that by seeing images of drug use or drinking people will naturally be more included to do so as well.

While these theories and others like them may be seriously flawed, the fact of the matter is that drug addiction is a dangerous issue regardless of the associations of the user. If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, please use one of the links below to get help right now.
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