Peer Pressure & Substance Use Essay Examples & Outline

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Peer Pressure and Substance Use

In most of the institutions and curricula, the dangers of alcohol use and abuse are expounded on such that the children grow up with the idea of what the indulgence in alcohol will lead to. The teachings on the dangers of alcohol are rife and real hence there should be no instances of children adolescents or young adults engaging in premature drug use and alcohol abuse. One may think that this is the case (Garfield, Ball & Kissin, 2000). However, the contrary is true. The most exposed and enlightened members of the society are the worst hit by the issues of drug addiction. Ironically, doctors and medical professional that have more knowledge on the entomology of the disease arising from excessive consumption of alcohol are the worst affected by the addictions.

Therefore, two hypotheses can be stated. On one hand, it is possible that the doctors and the rest of the professional in the medical field do not believe in what they feed to the society (Garfield, Ball & Kissin, 2000). On the other hand, it is possible that the doctors are also victims of a trend in the society that has made the alcohol intake more acceptable and accommodated to the extent of spanning out of control. These hypothesis are both true. The paper will focus on the issues that have led to the acceptance of alcohol and drug use in the scotia with the focus being on the adolescents and college-going students.

The society’s acceptance of alcohol and drug abuse manifests in the peer pressure. Peer pressure is not evident in the youths only on the contrary; even the older members of the society always do what their peers are doing (Johnson & Grant, 2005). Peer pressure can be positive or negative. Negative peer pressure leads to the adoption of the rebellious behavior (Garfield, Ball & Kissin, 2000). Negative peer pressure is the most evident from of peer pressure in the society. Peer pressure manifest itself mostly in the younger members of the society.

Peer pressure is the most cited reason for the development of excessive alcohol use and abuse in the society. However, peer pressure is combination of three aspects (Kirke, 2006). One of the three distinct aspects that influence a person is the explicit offer of alcohol to the teenagers by their peers (Johnson & Grant, 2005). Overt offers of alcohol and other drugs create a compelling reason for the peer group member to take them in order to please his or her age mates. Offers to take more are accepted leading to addiction and continued use.

Overt offers

Overt offers are designed unconsciously to make the offered more willing to take it since there are usually free with the continued use of the drugs leading to the addiction (Kirke, 2006). The induction period is the best period for the drug and alcohol addicts since every member of the peer group seems to be warming up towards the member (Healey, 2007). The feeling of acceptance makes the member feel more inclined to act like and belong to the group.

When the stage advances to that level, there is a guarantee that he or she will end up being hooked on the drugs or alcohol (Garfield, Ball & Kissin, 2000). Ironically, after a person is hooked, there are no motivations for the peer group members to accommodate him even when he is in need of their assistance in procuring the drugs. Therefore, the overt offers from the peer group members increase the susceptibility of a person to substance abuse (Kirke, 2006). The overt officers of alcohol differ with most of them ranging from polite and mindful offer to commands or goading of the members (Healey, 2007).


The second way through which alcohol use and abuse manifests is the modelling. Modelling is the process of creating false images about something with the main of them manifesting as gross misstatements of the reality. In each of the peer groups in the society, there are models that the teenagers look up to (Healey, 2007). Some of the models could be real or characters in the mainstream media. In the case of real life modeling, the models could be part of the peer group. In most of the cases, the models are older (Garfield, Ball & Kissin, 2000).

For the college students, the model for drug and alcohol use could be the senior students. The models always have a way of life that is extolled in the peer group such that every member of the peer group wishes to be like the model (Prinstein & Dodge, 2008). Continued reliance on the image of what is right portrayed by the models eventually leads to a situation whereby the modeled image of what is right and wrong becomes the real image of the tow issues. In this case, the admirers of the model end up being hooked on the drugs and addicted to alcohol.

Models on what is right and wrong could also be the characters in the movies and other media. in the movies, the teenagers and college life is depicted in wrong light whereby most of the movies and song popularize the ideal that college is a place where one goes to do all the things that are prohibited in the society (Garfield, Ball & Kissin, 2000). The adoption of this notion leads to the development of drug and alcohol use since according to the modelled image; it is the acceptable thing to do in order for one to belong.

Finally, the final component of the peer pressure that leads to the drug and alcohol abuse is the social norms (Garfield, Ball & Kissin, 2000). The society has placed some characteristics that have become norms over the years. For instance, it is almost a rule that when one is out watching a baseball game, he or she must be drinking (Johnson & Grant, 2005). This norm is extended to the college and adolescent life. Therefore, the main source of the peer pressure is the society.


Garfield, T., Ball, J., & Kissin, W. (2000). Drug abuse warning network annual medical examiner data, 1999. Rockville, Md.: Dept. of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies.
Healey, J. (2007). Peer pressure. Thirroul, N.S.W.: Spinney Press.
Johnson, J., & Grant, G. (2005). Substance abuse. Boston: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.
Kirke, D. (2006). Teenagers and substance use. Basingstoke [England]: Palgrave Macmillan.
Prinstein, M., & Dodge, K. (2008). Understanding peer influence in children and adolescents. New York: Guilford Press.