Impacts of Drugs on Social Media

Student posts about drinking or drugs on social media affects peer pressure and college

By Julia Walker

Many students have seen it before: casual posts at a party of someone drinking or doing drugs. Whether it is a student or celebrity, these posts seem to be everywhere, and can be found within seconds of scrolling through Instagram or Snapchat.

Although putting a picture or video on social media of drugs does not seem like a problem, they are being proven as a link to peer pressure and college acceptances.
Studies from Columbia University conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse said people who look at social media daily are two times more likely to smoke marijuana, three times as likely to drink, and five times as likely to smoke cigarettes.
“Drugs are glorified in movies and shows, but when you personalize them and kids your own age are doing drugs, it makes them seem acceptable,” said School Resource Officer Don Hull, who has been working in law enforcement for 30 years.
Mr. Hull said that social media compounds peer pressure and makes drugs more accessible.
“The posts on my feed make me uncomfortable… but it’s normal to see them so I’ve become used to it,” said an ELHS student who asked to remain anonymous.
Social media posts can be seen as a form of peer pressure.
“Parties on social media make drugs look fun, but what you don’t see on Snapchat are the overdoses, damage to families, and deaths,” said Mr. Hull.
Posting about substance abuse can lead to administrative consequences. If the post was outside of school, it can still be put on one’s disciplinary record. “We become involved in issues outside of school that have a negative impact on the educational environment,” said Director of Campus Safety and Security, Christopher  Olsen.
Colleges look at disciplinary records and social media accounts when considering applicants. Posting about drugs on social media can have an impact on one’s chances of getting accepted into a dream college or  job.
“What you post stays on the internet after you delete it, and this makes it difficult to get into college or enter the workforce,” said School Counselor Nadine Barnes.
Freshman Academy teacher Jennifer Brush thinks a reason teenagers post about themselves doing drugs is because of low self-esteem. This year, Brush incorporated the importance of confidence and self-esteem into classes.
“We focus on the academics; math, science, and history, but at when in life do we teach students how to feel good about themselves? That’s just as important. If someone needs to post pictures of themselves doing drugs to look cool, they aren’t in a good place,” said Ms. Brush.
Although social media is a large part of many students’ lives, they are being encouraged to really think before hitting  post.
“It’s easy to put something out there and not recognize consequences or emotions that come along with it,” said Ms. Brush.

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