Substance Abuse In Pop Culture

August 5, 2022

Dr. Ashish Bhatt, MD explains the influence that the internet and social media have on young adults, adolescents, and teens when it comes to substance use.


Dr. Bhatt: Hi, this is Dr. Bhatt, with I want to speak a little bit about a topic that’s often not addressed when it comes to some of the risk factors for developing substance use and addiction, and that is the influence that social media and the internet have on people’s substance use.

Often times, we see in music videos on the internet- reality TV shows- a glamorization of drug and alcohol use. The unfortunate part here is that often those people who are receiving that information are those who are most impressionable coming from those who are most influential, and those are young adults, adolescence and teenagers. This is a crucial time in people’s lives where they are susceptible to certain influential psychological, emotional, and biological risk factors. And when we see things painted or portrayed in a positive light, which, unfortunately, is not positive, this can be misleading and it can be confusing. Risk of developing an addiction does not ultimately mean it’s going to happen just because you started to use one time. But, the earlier somebody uses, that is a huge risk factor on the ultimate development of a substance use disorder.

So, the key point here is that we understand that a lot of what we see on television, a lot of what we hear in music, and if it is glamorization of drugs and alcohol that it’s put in perspective. These are things that are often not true. And we see a lot of unfortunate consequences such as overdoses and experimentation done by people who are portraying drugs or alcohol in a positive light.

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