Health and Fitness

The Role of Peer Pressure in Developing a Drug Addiction

Many people are curious as to what “causes” someone’s addiction to a substance. The truth is, there are many factors ranging from genetic to environmental that can lead to, trigger, or enable someone’s addiction.

Below, we’ll discuss how peer pressure alone may cause a drug addiction in some people.

Needing to Fit In

Especially for those with an outgoing personality, trying to fit in is a big deal. Being seen as an outcast may lead to an increased chance of getting bullied and fewer opportunities to make friends.

As a result, some people may be inclined to take drugs for the first time when someone else peer pressures them into doing so. This is even more likely if there are multiple people peer pressuring them at the same time.

One may feel the need to fit in with a group of friends, with their family, or even at a social event, for instance.

Not Wanting to Miss Out

Nobody wants to be the person that missed out on something “cool” or “exciting.” Feeling left out feels horrible. We all want to be able to relate to the people around us, especially our friends or family. By being the only person who didn’t do something, we have less to relate to with the people we know, which makes us feel lame or less than.

When someone peer pressures another person, they may tell them that by not trying a particular drug, they’ll be missing out on a great experience. In response, the person being pressured may be more likely to take the drug. Even if they don’t like the idea of drugs, they may think that by not trying the drug, they are shorting themselves of an experience that “everyone else” gets.

Fear of Losing Friends

One of the hardest things to deal with in life is losing someone you thought was a friend. By losing a friend, you miss out on fun conversations, someone to attend social events with, and a person you can confide in when times get tough.

Oftentimes, the development of a drug addiction can start due to a fear of losing friends or even a romantic partner. They may believe if they don’t do drugs like their friends or partner, that they will be discarded and forgotten. After all, friends and romantic partners typically have things in common with each other, more often than not.

And what is interesting is that research shows that people are more likely to be influenced by those who are similar to them or have stronger social ties with. So, it makes sense that someone is more likely to be peer pressured by friends than a stranger or someone they don’t have a lot in common with.

As you can see, peer pressure can play multiple roles in the start of an addiction to drugs. While this is unfortunate as we all deal with peer pressure in some shape or form at one time or another, in the case of drug addiction, it isn’t an end all be all. From rehab for fentanyl addiction to cognitive behavioral therapy, there are ways to help someone struggling with addiction.


Peer pressure isn’t the only thing that can lead to someone’s addiction to drugs. However, it is one of the top causes of drug addiction around the world. Hopefully, the more we learn about the role of peer pressure in the development of drug addiction, we can find ways to prevent drug addiction as much as possible.

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