Risk Factors that Lead to Substance Abuse


risk factors substance abuseThere are certain risk factors which contribute to the likelihood that someone will use drugs and subsequently abuse them. We call these “risk factors” because when they are exhibited by an individual or group of individuals, they are said to be at risk of developing a drug abuse habit or persistent addiction. Some of these factors are related to one’s environment, upbringing, economic situation, mental and emotional health condition, social circles, and other variables.

Generally, a combination of factors will constitute an individual’s risk for substance abuse. The evidence points to a connection between delinquency or emotional trauma in young people and their absorbed opinions and views of substance use. The implications can carry well into their adult lives. In examining the links between risk factors and the associated behavior of substance abuse, all aspects of an individual’s life should be considered.

Environmental Factors of Substance Abuse

In regard to one’s environment, the community in which one is brought up has significant impact on the options available to them for dealing with stress, pain, and boredom. The community attitude toward drug use will factor into a community member’s propensity to engage in it. The levels of transient residents contribute to the availability and lax attitudes towards drugs. Communities whose populations are constantly in a state of flux have been reported to possess higher rates of drug abuse. The physical condition of a community also indicates a tendency for increased drug usage.

The principle thing to bare in mind here is the degree to which community members are invested in their communities. When people are constantly coming and going, they are less invested in their environment and therefore less likely to care for the quality of the physical and socioeconomic condition. Hence, the resulting toleration of drug abuse. This fosters the perfect setting for addiction as the effects of drug use only result in more apathy toward one’s state of affairs.

When evaluating the individual for risk factors, seek to identify whether or not:

  • He or she shows strong social connections at school
  • They demonstrate interest in their academics
  • They have a good relationship with their parents
  • They display a rebellious nature
  • They show antisocial behavior
  • They demonstrate aggression
  • Their peer groups consist of drug users
  • Their romantic partners exhibit any of the above risks

Unhealthy conditions in any of these areas will have the tendency to drive some into drug use and addiction. The younger the age one begins using, the more likely they are to become addicts because the effects of the drug become part of their development and functionality. Its continued use will then be a necessary ingredient to their functional lives until it breaks them down and serves the opposite purpose. Often, at this point, it is too late.

It is imperative to identify the risk factors and take action to correct them or eliminate them in order to avoid the problem from developing in the first place. If you or someone you know is at risk of developing a serious drug problem, LEAD Treatment Center can offer guidance and treatment options. Call us today at (800) 380-0012.