Take the first step. Let's recover together.

Connection Between Peer Pressure and Substance Abuse

Until recently, peer pressure is a widely accepted but scientifically unexplored driving power for certain behaviors. Studying this social phenomenon gained popularity within the past twenty years as drug and alcohol use steadily boosted. Investigating the matter is disclosing the role peer pressure plays in impacting decisions and habits. Outcomes from multiple studies confirm that it can sway people into doing or participating in something they normally would not. Whether it’s drug use or peer pressure enables people to alter their behaviors.

What Is Peer Pressure?

So how do we define peer pressure? Peer pressure frequently plays a role in substance use and addiction. When other people are doing something, it can be hard for us to abstain from joining in. We often surround ourselves with people who share hobbies and interests. As such, if you are a big drinker, you likely have friends who use drugs as well. Suppose you are in a condition where most of your peer pressure substance use; it is hard for you to abstain from that. You cannot remain friends with drinkers when you are determined to live a sober life. With the right professional help, you can stay friends with people who use alcohol and substances even when you are sober, though you may have to add sober friends to your peer group.

Peer Pressure and Drug Use 

Peer pressure on drugs and alcohol can be a risk factor among children and adults. Individuals may be particularly vulnerable to peer pressure if they say that peer acceptance is essential to them or are sensitive to rejection. The perception that drug or alcohol use is expected may also act as a condition of peer pressure. As a result, people may deliberately prefer to use drugs to fit in and evade rejection. On the other hand, it may be more subtle, gradually normalizing drug use and making it seem less threatening.

Can Peer Pressure Lead To Substance Use Disorders?

Drug use is a vital prerequisite to substance use disorders, making it a risk factor as alcohol peer pressure. In addition, the early use of drugs boosts the lifetime hazard of developing a substance use disorder. This indicates that children and teens face high levels of peer pressure. The peer pressure statistics show that a 2020 study assesses that in 2016, 11.6% of adult drug users had drug use or addiction. In addition, some other risk factors may further raise the risk of drug addiction. They are as follows:

  • Family history of substance abuse 
  • Family rejection, particularly due to sexual orientation or gender identity 
  • Lack of supervision from parents or guardians
  • Favorable family attitudes toward drug abuse
  • Certain mental health conditions, like anxiety or depression 
  • School issues, like lack of a sense of connection to the school

What are the types of Peer Pressure?

The power of peer pressure does not apply equally to all types of peers. Studies find close friends have more sway over behavior compared to strangers. More people noted trying alcohol at gatherings with close friends rather than parties filled with strangers. It still exerted a consequence in scenarios with fewer close friends, but the friendship empowered the effect. The types of peer pressure are: 

College and Drinking 

When talking about peer pressure, the emphasis generally falls on young people. Students’ social circles comprise similarly-minded people. The uniformity built within these groups leads to a stronger peer pressure effect. Specialists generally agree that, in relation to alcohol, college-age kids are most in danger of peer pressure facts influencing them into substance use.


Peer pressure functions in a similar way with drugs as with alcohol. Alcohol use is more acceptable than illegal drug use, even if it is underage. Illicit drugs are more heavily related to illegal activity and outcomes coming from outside the social group. The perception of consequences can break peer pressure’s ability to push a person into an extreme activity, which could lessen the chance that people give in to pressure to try more severe drugs. Certain types of peer pressure drugs not only lead to dangerous short-term behavior but can also plant the seeds for long-lasting habits.

Down The Line 

While the bulk of peer pressure and substance abuse concern concentrates on the specific parties and gatherings where it takes place, some worry has been put up around the impacts later in life. The kind of alcohol and drug use behaviors reinforced by peer pressure can embed unhealthy habits that need treatment to overcome. Thus, the suffering caused by alcohol use and other disorders could be avoided in some instances if people were more knowledgeable about these social pressures and how to avoid them.

How To Resist Peer Pressure?

When feeling pushed to partake in something you do not want, employ these tips to avoid the activity. These are as follows:

  • Make eye contact, and refuse to take part in a polite and firm voice. This should be sufficient to cause a real friend to back off.
  • Suggest a specific activity to steer the conversation away from the undesirable topic.
  • Say you can not participate because of duties you must attend to later or the next day.
  • Go away if their pressure continues.

If this group of friends proceeds by hounding you to engage in behavior you are not interested in, they may not be the friends you have to spend time with. These kinds of social situations can be draining at best and risky at worst, leading to peer pressure, alcohol, or drug use.


Most people like acceptance, particularly in adolescence. Being subject to peer rejection can be unbearable, and a person who feels unable to abide rejection may find it very hard to resist using alcohol and drugs if their peers do so. Thus it is essential to find peers who either do not use alcohol or drugs or accept those who do not.

People who feel stressed out by peer pressure may find strength from family members or a therapist. Children and teens who don’t know how to deal with peer pressure should talk with an adult or invest in relationships with friends who don’t use alcohol or drugs. Resisting peer pressure drinking may feel hard, but people who truly care about their friends accept them just because they do not use alcohol or drugs. Whether or not peer pressure has a role in its development, a SUD (substance use disorder) can be very hard to deal with alone. Treatment may be essential if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction. 

I NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE NOWFree and Confidential. Call 888-844-3455Response time about 1 min | Response rate 100%
Who Answers?