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Is Substance Abuse Becoming More Socially Acceptable?

There is no question that substance abuse is a serious issue facing modern society. Every day people die from illnesses and overdoses related to substance abuse. But, is substance abuse becoming more socially acceptable? In short, yes. To understand this, however, it is necessary to understand why society is becoming more accepting of substance abuse. It is also important to know the dangers this poses, as substance abuse, accepted or not, is still dangerous.

Popular Media

social media and substance abuse

Popular media outlets such as social media are used to glorify substance abuse.

One of the biggest reasons why substance abuse is becoming more accepted is its portrayal in the media. It seems that everywhere you look there is a plethora of blatant glorification of substance abuse or the substances actually being abused. In fact, the variety of outlets that participate in this glorification are astounding. They include:

    Television shows and advertisements Popular music of nearly all genres Movies Internet sites Social media, which, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is drawing young audiences, and fails to express the dangers of substance abuse

All of these outlets share equal blame in creating a social message that substance abuse is not only acceptable, but admirable. This is a frightening reality, especially since, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, so much of this media is focused on teens and young adults.


Another reason that substance abuse is becoming so acceptable is the current political climate. There has been a large push in recent years to legalize or decriminalize various substances of abuse, and it has been met with a surprisingly large amount of support from the general populace. Some of the actions being taken to make substance abuse more legally acceptable are:

    Medical and recreational marijuana legalization Decriminalization of various party drugs and hallucinogens Increases in needle exchanges for intravenous drug use Reduced sentencing for drug offenses

These actions are being taken because of popular opinion, and not through any evidence that substance abuse is less harmful than previously thought. In fact, the Drug Enforcement Administration states, drug abuse continues to be one of the greatest challenges facing society today.

Special Populations and Substance Abuse

The Future

These factors combine to create a dangerous situation moving toward the future. As substance abuse continues to grow in acceptance, so too will it grow in practice. This means that the ravages of substance abuse will be even more detrimental to future generations than they are to those dealing with them today. So, what can be done about it? The key here is education. The more facts that the public has about the dangers and effects of substance abuse, the less likely it is to continue gaining in popularity. To learn more about the dangers of substance abuse, call us today at 800-895-1695.

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: Rehab Media Group, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.

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