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The Link Between Socioeconomic Status and Substance Use Among Adolescents

Many intelligent individuals believe there’s a link between socioeconomic status and substance use among adolescents. While someone’s socioeconomic status is not always an indicator of whether they’ll struggle with substance use when they reach this age, the connection seems clear to those who study this phenomenon. There are also various marginalized groups who seem to develop problems with drugs and alcohol when they get into their teenage years.  

Gay rehab in Los Angeles is available for individuals in this group who reach adolescence and start to struggle with alcohol or drugs. They are hardly the only group that has these issues, though.

Let us talk about how socioeconomic status can play a part in substance abuse issues for young people.

What is Socioeconomic Status?

First, let’s define socioeconomic status so you can be sure of what the term means. The word “socioeconomic” is the intersection of someone’s wealth and their social standing. When you look at someone’s socioeconomic status, you’re looking at how much money they have and where that puts them on the rungs of society.

Often, if someone has more money, they can buy a home in a nicer neighborhood. They can purchase the trappings of wealth, send their kids to better schools, take frequent vacations, etc. It follows that socioeconomic status will have an impact on what a person is like growing up and their value system as well.  

Are Those with Higher Socioeconomic Status More Likely to Use Drugs and Alcohol?

Some people might believe that adolescents who come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds might be more inclined to get themselves into trouble with alcohol and drugs. However, a study from the National Institutes of Health indicates that the opposite is true.

There are certainly plenty of theories about why this is the case. Some therapists and behaviorists believe that this experimentation comes from a place of privilege. If someone comes from a higher socioeconomic class, then they may think they’re less likely to face any significant consequences if they experiment with drugs or alcohol.

If their experimentation doesn’t immediately result in them getting into any trouble, that reinforces this belief. That could lead them to becoming more brazen in their drug or alcohol use, which, in turn, means they could become dependent on these substances or addicted at a relatively young age.   

These Issues Are Difficult to Predict

However, it’s also crucial to understand that while socioeconomic status can be one of the main indicators of how a person is going to behave, their personal beliefs and how they are raised will also play a part. Even if someone comes from a place of wealth and privilege, if their parents keep a close eye on them and try to instill good values in them, it’s probably less likely they will get into trouble with alcohol or drugs.

Socioeconomic status is certainly something that can come into play with adolescent drug or alcohol use, but it is not usually the only factor that ultimately determines such behavior.

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