Peer Pressure and Substance Abuse in California: Is There a Connection?

Substance abuse is a type of issue that wreaks havoc on the body — but also on the mind! As such, it’s an issue that has a direct and indirect effect on countless individuals and their families. But what brings about such a problem in the first place? Could it be the person you are […]

Substance abuse is a type of issue that wreaks havoc on the body — but also on the mind! As such, it’s an issue that has a direct and indirect effect on countless individuals and their families. But what brings about such a problem in the first place? Could it be the person you are hanging around? It very well may be! Even if you are watching addiction unfold from the sidelines, we are sure you’ve felt pressured by your friends into trying a certain substance. You might have also felt that you had to do it just for the sake of fitting in. And so, you’ve witnessed the connection between peer pressure and substance abuse firsthand.

But just how much of a mutual interplay is there between the two? Can’t you just say ”NO”, and what happens if you don’t? Allow us to explore as we also talk about how one of the prestigious rehab facilities in California, We Level Up California, fits into the topic of peer pressure and drug abuse or alcoholism.

Is substance abuse a big issue in California?

How big of a problem is substance abuse – really – in the state of California? Let’s consult the statistics, notably those from 2018-2019.

Out of all substances, back at the time, marijuana was the most commonly used (20.1% of people have reported using it). Pain medications followed, with 3.6% of the population who used them in a way that a healthcare professional did not prescribe. 2.8% of people used cocaine during these years, and methamphetamine use was noted at 1%. Heroin usage was also present, with 0.2% of Californians using it.

A girl worried because of the peer pressure and substance abuse she's developed as a result of it
While they don’t have to be connected necessarily, the sad reality is that peer pressure and substance abuse often go hand in hand.

The connection between peer pressure and substance abuse

Peer pressure contributes to substance abuse. This is true for all age groups, although, surprisingly, adult men between the ages of 25 and 33 are particularly likely to abuse drugs due to peer pressure.

You may be wondering why this age, exactly. Shouldn’t substance abuse be more common in, say, teenagers, who are easily influenced by others? Why, yes, this may be accurate. Still, the abovementioned stage of your life is risky as it is also the stage during which you may be contending with high levels of stress at work or having problems with your relationships. The harder you have it, the easier it is for you to succumb to other’s requests, specifically those related to substance use.

We shouldn’t tell you how dangerous this can be. You may start using innocently as a way to fit in, bond with others, and relieve stress, but this terrible practice can spiral into addiction before you know it.

The types of substances involved in these scenarios can vary widely but often include:

  • Alcohol. Peer pressure and drinking happen very often. Frequently used in social settings, alcohol is a common substance associated with peer pressure. Social gatherings, workplace events, and even casual meet-ups can create environments where peer pressure and alcohol can take place.
  • Opioids. These range from prescription pain relievers to illegal drugs (e.g. heroin). The addiction may start off with a legitimate prescription that gets misused because of the highly addictive nature of the drug. Peer influences play a big role in the initiation and progression of opioid misuse.
  • Stimulants. The use of stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamine is often linked to their perceived ability to enhance performance or prolong activity. Among adult males, the pressure to exceed in professional or social spheres can lead to stimulant abuse.
  • Marijuana. A growing acceptance of the drug with changing legal status could still be driven by peer pressure among those looking for social conformity or stress relief. Among young adults aged 18 to 25 in 2020, 34.5% reported using marijuana. As for those older than 26, the figure is 16.3%.

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Is peer pressure substance abuse a thing, and how does it impact overall health?

To an addicted individual, the effects of peer pressure and drug abuse or alcohol abuse are extensive. But those effects aren’t felt only by the person suffering from an SUD. The utter health demise, emotional pain, and even death can all find their way to the families and communities of those grappling with addiction. Let’s explore these effects:

  • Numerous health issues might develop as a result of substance dependence. Cardiac problems, liver damage, breathing difficulties, and an increased risk of infectious diseases are just a few examples. How serious these health problems are depends heavily on the substance abused and the duration of abuse.
  • SUDs can have serious effects on one’s emotional status in addition to the obvious physical hazards, with stress, isolation, and anxiety being only part of the picture. The mental and emotional toll can make substance abuse become an even bigger problem, making it more difficult to escape the pattern without help.
  • The effects of substance abuse extend into societal realms, contributing to increased healthcare costs, productivity losses, and strains on the criminal justice system. Families can experience financial difficulties, and communities may face higher rates of crime and violence.
  • A large portion of those with SUDs also battle with secondary mental health disorders, such as depression or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). These co-occurring conditions complicate the treatment of substance abuse. That said, SUDs and mental health disorders must be treated simultaneously for a successful recovery.
Peer pressure and drug use that may stem from it can wreak havoc on one’s body, warranting extensive medical treatment that goes beyond substance abuse recovery.

How We Level Up California treats peer pressure and drug abuse/alcoholism stemming from it

At We Level Up California, we believe in the power of change and the strength of the human spirit. If you’re wrestling with addiction (or your loved one is), you are far from alone. We’re here, ready to walk through this period of life with you, from the first step of detoxification to the ongoing commitment to rehabilitation. That said, let’s dive deeper into how our facility can help you break free from substance abuse!

Peer pressure and alcohol abuse treatment

Our specialized alcoholism treatment program is tailored to address the complex nature of alcohol addiction. It starts with medical detox to safely manage withdrawal symptoms, then moves into behavioral therapy, support groups, and wellness activities. This comprehensive approach tackles both the physical withdrawal and the psychological challenges, such as peer pressure and drinking. This helps you recover more successfully. With our program, you gain the tools and support necessary to overcome peer pressure and alcohol addiction and work towards a healthier, sober life.

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Opiate to fentanyl detoxification and rehabilitation

Our opiate-to-fentanyl detoxification and rehabilitation program is specifically designed to address the challenges of opiate and fentanyl addiction. Starting with medically supervised detox, we ensure your withdrawal is as comfortable as possible. After opiate detox in California, you’ll engage in extensive therapy to understand and address the deeper reasons behind your addiction.

Heroin detox program

As you go through heroin detox in California at our facility, our team of medical experts is with you around the clock, making sure you’re comfortable and supported every step of the way. They manage withdrawal symptoms to reduce discomfort, helping you gain full focus on your recovery.

Stimulant addiction treatment

Meth vs amphetamine addiction, which is harder to treat? Some would say the former, although the latter is as addictive and complicated to address. Knowing the difference between these two stimulants and their addictive properties, our therapists are fully equipped to handle treatment aimed at combating dependence on these drugs. With a recovery plan made to suit individual needs, your physical and psychological health is sure to improve as you attend rehab.

Cocaine addiction treatment

Our cocaine addiction treatment program California residents believe in is specifically crafted to address the complexities of cocaine use. It starts with detoxification to cleanse your body, followed by a mix of individual therapy, group sessions, and strategies to prevent relapse. This approach not only helps you understand the triggers behind your addiction but also equips you with healthy coping mechanisms.

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Support beyond peer pressure and drug use or alcoholism treatment

The journey to recovery extends far beyond the initial treatment phase. Maintaining sobriety and rebuilding a fulfilling life requires ongoing support and resources. To address this need, We Level Up California offers a range of aftercare services that support a return to everyday, substance-free life.

Aftercare services for families and alumni

Our commitment to our clients doesn’t end upon completion of their treatment program. That’s why we have come up with aftercare services that support both the individual and their family in the critical months and years following their time at the facility. This includes access to support groups, counseling sessions, and educational workshops that focus on relapse prevention.

Personal development events

Recognizing the importance of personal growth in sustaining recovery, personal development events are available to We Level Up California patients during treatment and post-treatment. These events cover essential life skills, business expertise, and recovery coaching, all aimed at empowering our clients to lead successful, happy lives.

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Peer pressure and drug abuse need to be addressed by professionals.

Peer pressure and drinking/using may be connected, but they don’t have to ruin your life!

You might have strong willpower to quit your addiction. However, you might easily be demotivated when you realize you need more than that. You need comprehensive treatment that looks at the root cause of your addiction. Seeing as peer pressure and substance abuse are connected, it’s possible the influence of your social circle has led you down this dark road. The good news is that, with our help and the help of your family, you can stop the addiction from defining you. So, surround yourself with those who love you, seek help from We Level Up California, and little by little, you’ll start becoming your old, productive, and thriving self. Or perhaps, a totally new and improved version of you?

  1. Health Care Almanac Substance Use in California: Prevalence and Treatment. 2022,
  2. Highlights for the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

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