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9 Common Reasons People Start Using Drugs

Posted by Myra Davis to Prevention

Do you remember the first time you used drugs? What motivated you to smoke your first joint or swallow your first pill? People start using drugs for numerous reasons, but here are nine of the most common ones.

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1. To Fit in With Peers

Fitting in with a peer group, whether you’re in high school or a senior citizen, is important. After all, no one likes to be the odd one out. If your peer group is into drugs or asks you to try them, though, chances are high that you’ll agree. In your quest to fit in, I encourage you to remain true to your values and remember that real friends won’t pressure you to do something that’s dangerous or harmful.

2. Genetics

Drug addiction stems from a variety of causes, including genetic factors. I’m not telling you to blame your parents for your foray into drug use, but do realize that you’re more likely to develop an addiction if your close relatives have one. Making a vow to never use drugs is a wise decision if you think you could be genetically inclined to addiction.

3. To Escape Conflict at Home

All families experience occasional conflicts. Yours will, too. However, whether your parents fight each other or you, that conflict hurts everyone, and you might try drugs to rebel or escape the pain and confusion. As an alternative, I encourage you to seek a trusted friend, clergy member, or therapist. Work through conflict at home instead of turning to drugs, a harmful and temporary fix.

4. To Lose Weight

After being bombarded by images of trim, fit, and thin people, your self-image and body acceptance may plummet. Drugs that cause weight loss look attractive, and you decide to experiment. I’ve seen dozens of men and women fall into this trap, and I can tell you that the best solution isn’t a pill but the ability to love and accept your body just the way it is.

5. For Fun

Drug use on TV and at parties looks and sounds like fun, so why not try it? This line of thought will only lead to trouble. Instead of using drugs for fun, I challenge you to take up sports, an instrument, or painting. These healthy hobbies let you have fun without ruining your life.

6. To Cover Wounds From Physical or Sexual Abuse

Abuse of any kind causes deep emotional scars. I’ve known many people who used drugs to numb the pain they felt because of physical or sexual abuse. Unfortunately, covering the wound with drugs only creates more pain. Therapy is a better and healthier way to find the healing you crave.

7. To Improve School Performance

When your life goals involve getting into a good college or graduating with honors, you might turn to drugs. They can stimulate you to stay awake and study or focus on exam day. Using drugs to excel in school, though, can also take you down a slippery, addictive road that you can avoid by getting a good tutor and learning different study techniques.

8. To Gain Confidence

If you feel nervous before job interviews or social situations, you may boost your confidence with drugs. What happens, though, when the drug wears off and you’re faced with another situation that requires confidence? Improving your self-esteem and honing your people skills are safer and more productive ways to gain the confidence you need.

9. To Numb Emotions

Anxiety, depression, and anger don’t feel good. If you suffer from one of these emotions, you may decide to use drugs to help you feel better. A substance will only increase the anxiety, depression, and anger you feel, though. Therapy and a positive support network offer a better solution as you address and heal the emotions you feel.

You may wonder why it’s important to know why people start using drugs. For starters, addicts who know why they started using drugs are able to get to the root of their addiction and find the healing and recovery they need. Also, I hope this list helps at least one person avoid addiction. No matter why you may want to use drugs, there’s always a safer, healthier, and better alternative. May you choose the better way today.

3 Comments

  • Amanda

    These nine reasons I think can hit home with anyone who has used drugs. Drugs are used as an escape from something, pain, fear, a difficult situation something. I do not know one person that has not ran into some sort of situation as mentioned above. I think the support system around a person really makes a difference on how well they are able to just and handle life whether a drug addict or not. That is why it is so important for a who is on drugs to find the right group that will help them get better and reach a better way of life. People being able to cope and handle life will make taking drugs less of a possibility.

  • Diane C

    It was funny while reading this and looking back over my life at the many, many times I have encountered almost all of these situations, I did do drugs when I was younger because all of my friends were doing it. From there I kept doing them to “fit in” as everybody was doing it. I’m so glad that I never became addicted to anything and was able to stop easily enough. But I can also see how if different circumstances had been occurring in my life, I may not have been able to do that. It really brings home that we have to be aware of what is happening with those around us and get them into the program they need to get over their addiction and back to living a drug free life.

  • Walter

    These are really accurate things, and they are all definitely things that lead people to use drugs. It is really sad that no matter what the conditions are, there seem to commonly be these denominators that lead people to go that route, when in fact there are lots of other ways that they can handle these scenarios where they do not need to use drugs. It is a sad truth that there is a lot of pressure that can be leading to the use of drugs, and it is amazing that you can see the influence of a peer group on different age groups of people. Also, if there are people that are struggling with either physical or mental trauma this can lead them to getting onto drugs to try to escape the pain that they are going through. This is probably the biggest factor that can lead to drug abuse, and if you know of anyone then you can show this or mention some of these, and you might be able to make a breakthrough with them and get them to go into therapy and get off of the drugs that they were driven towards by whatever situation they were in.

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