In detail

What drives someone to use drugs?

What drives someone to use drugs?

Consumption of psychoactive substances It is a form of human behavior. The human behavior is a complex combination of acts, feelings, thoughts and motives. The behavior is a function of the previous stimuli, of the internal organization of the individual and of the consequences of the response itself.


  • 1 What is the age at which drug use begins
  • 2 Personal factors in drug use
  • 3 Factors of the near (microsocial) environment in drug use
  • 4 Global environmental factors in drug use

What is the age at which you start using drugs

The adolescence and the first youth are the epochs of life in which the greatest influence friends have on the person. The group of friends is becoming increasingly important in the life of the adolescent at the same time that the relations with the parents become weaker with the development of greater independence. In the group of friends, the adolescent dilutes insecurities, conflicts, painful emotions, doubts, etc., through communication with people who experience similar concerns. At this age rejection profoundly affects the adolescent, depending on almost all of the approval of their peers. The young man, the adolescent needs his group, since this one offers him the way through which personal values ​​are formed and settled.

The factors related to the genesis of drug use have been grouped into three categories: personal factors, microsocial or interpersonal influences, and global environmental influences.

Personal factors in drug use

The existence of a series of Personality traits which make subjects more vulnerable to start and reach the abusive consumption of psychoactive substances. Features such as: social nonconformity, low motivation for academic performance, independence, rebellion, tendency to search for new and intense sensations, tolerance to deviation, early antisocial tendencies (aggressiveness, delinquency, ...). There is no "personality" of the drug addict, in general it is stated that individuals with socialization problems, with a low threshold for frustration, failure and pain, seeking immediate satisfaction, lacking behavioral skills to deal with problems of life and the demands of society, that is, with a delay in their personal development (subjects with low level of self-control, low self-esteem, low self-confidence), they are clearly identifiable as "high risk" people. Young people with social withdrawal, with deficits in social skills - people called shy, with difficulty for social contact - can resort for example to alcohol or other drugs to disinhibit their behavior in a social gathering, being the first step to a dependency. Similarly, very influential young people are more vulnerable when the significant people around them consume alcohol or other drugs, acting the imitation or integration elements in the group. The emotional distress caused by a negative self-image or low self-esteem, depression, social isolation have been proposed as variables potentially associated with drug use.

Factors of the near (microsocial) environment in drug use

Each young person has an interpersonal and social environment that is unique and includes their parents, siblings, partners and other adults important to their life and development. In the family context, there may be circumstances and certain factors that favor the approach of young people to drug use. The young man is continually exposed to models that exhibit addictive behavior. Consumption by parents and teachers of legal drugs: tobacco, alcohol and drugs it is cause for observation by children or students; by imitation, the tendency to use drugs is adopted, learning that they are considered a solution whenever some kind of problem arises. The interests and expectations of the partners contribute greatly to determine whether or not a person rehearses a drug that causes dependence. Most young drug users get them from people their age and not adults. The desire to integrate into the group and to have social exchange within it can result in drug use being initiated and maintained if some influential members of that group are intermittent or habitual consumers.

The lack of real communication between parents and children causes them to gradually distance themselves from the family environment, as they do not find an answer to their problems there. The lack of dedication of the parents to the education of the children or the poor control due to excessive liberalism in education, they are, without a doubt, general factors related to education that become an inadequate training of young people. Other incorrect education guidelines are: overprotective attitudes or rigid attitudes. These triggers suppose that there is a lack of dialogue in the family, maintaining in many cases ambiguous attitudes towards drugs, that there are various types of emotional deficiencies and a climate that does not favor personal growth, with lack of independence and capacity To face problematic situations.

There are many investigations that have come to establish a clear relationship between drug use in adolescents and poor academic performance, high degree of absenteeism, dropout, low rates of extracurricular activities and low educational aspirations. A school that does not respond to the educational needs of its students is contributing in some way to drug use, by not offering these resources to address the problems of today's society, among which drugs occupy one of the main places. The school often generates obstacles to the personal and social development of the young person, without making available the same opportunities to solve their problems. The rigidity of school structures and their non-adaptation to individual needs cause rejection of the school and its contents in adolescents with problems. Given the context of competitiveness in which the school is framed, the young man lives failure in it as the first experience of social failure; This generates in it a process of rupture and distancing from the world of adults. The lack of alternatives in young people's leisure time translates into great difficulties for these of not being engaged in leisure time to bars, pubs or discos. The aggravation of a personal situation is quite common in the historical background of the beginning of consumption in young people. High-risk personal situations: teenage pregnancies, job loss, etc., are considered as the cause of drug use.

Global environmental factors in drug use

We attend a growing medicalization of human problems. The medication, "The pill" is the magic solution to all kinds of problems. This generates a pharmacological habit with abusive use of the medicine. Children are accustomed to observe how their parents go to the drug as a solution to any personal mismatch; being simple to generalize the cult of the drug to the use of drugs. The drug addict is always the victim of a certain social situation. Human beings, through their behavior, seek adaptation to their environment. In adolescence the behavior of testing is facilitated. It is in adolescence, during the socialization process and when the control of the subjects' behavior gradually ceases to be in the hands of the parents to acquire a certain degree of self-control, the generic moment of maximum risk.

Thus, preventing drug dependence implies having a direct impact on all kinds of phenomena (personal, microsocial or interpersonal influences and global environmental influences) that facilitate, in certain subjects, the development of dysfunctional patterns of consumption of psychoactive substances.

To know more about the subject: Drugs and addictions