Why do young people take drugs?

It all started in the 60s with those bloody longhaired free love flower power pansies with their hippy liberal attitudes, banging on about sex, drugs, rock & roll !!!

Contrary to popular belief it didn’t…

The wonder of getting high is not a new phenomenon and, it certainly started long before The Rolling Stones, Woodstock or Janis Joplin!

Others might think it goes a back to the Opium Dens of 19th Century Victorian London? Even that reputation is quite unjustified, and testifies to the power of literary fiction over historical fact.

Whatever the history, it is likely that drug taking in some form or other has always taken place, is common place today and is likely to continue well into the future!

Time to resort to t’internet…

There are many reasons young people will take drugs

No shit Sherlock?

So says DrugScope who actually list seven main bullet points to explain the reasons. Having read through I have to say that I totally agree with their comments and methodical reasoning.

The (edited) points are reproduced below: –

  • Enjoyment: Despite all the concerns about illicit drug use, the evidence of drug use within youth culture suggests that the experience is seen as pleasurable, rather than negative and damaging. So one of the main reasons why young people take drugs is probably as simple as they enjoy them. Escapism!
  • Environment: Many young people live in communities, which suffer from multiple deprivation. In such communities drug supply and use often thrive as an alternative economy (often controlled by powerful criminal groups) and simple escapism. However, drug use is not restricted to deprived areas, illicit drug use is an aspect of our society from top to bottom and in all regions. Escapism!
  • Curiosity: Most young people are naturally curious and want to experiment with different experiences. Escapism!
  • Defence mechanism: Some young people use drugs specifically to ease the trauma and pain of unsatisfactory relationships and/or the physical and emotional abuse arising from unhappy home lives. Escapism!
  • Rebellion: Whether or not part of any particular subset of youth culture, young people like to be exclusive, own something that is personal to themselves and consciously or unconsciously drug use may act as a means of defiance to provoke adults into a reaction. Enforcement!
  • Availability: Despite legislation, children and teenagers have no problems obtaining alcohol and tobacco, which are legal products. The illicit market is more discreet, but those determined to experiment will also have little trouble obtaining drugs. Enforcement!
  • Cost: Value for money is often a factor as to which drug to use? With limited amounts of cash the ‘shopper’ goes for the cheaper option… Yea for consumer power!

You will have noticed my two reoccurring words of comment… Escapism & Enforcement.

Although information about drug abuse helps to educate people about the dangers and, much can be done to address depravation issues (but often isn’t) there is a simpler common denominator. By that I mean the two words that I chose to use in making comment.

I would suggest there is actually very little that can be done to address the human trait for escapism. One that is even more prevalent during times of personal difficulty (and in the list), be that troublesome situation be born out of reality or perception.

Life is full of difficult situations but not everyone resorts to a needle, pill, bottle or smoke to offset those feelings! That leaves the enforcement issue and, by By enforcement I don’t just mean all the powers of our legal system.

Enforcement starts with parental guidance and society setting the boundaries of ‘acceptable behaviour’, a factor that unfortunately appears to be unfashionable today? Ergo once again we appear to be stuffed?

It will take generations to reverse the years of liberalism, undue freedom of expression and so-called ‘human rights’ that are now endemic throughout our society. I could live in hope but due to age, it’s unlikely I’ll ever see real change… Keep talking Frank!


  • Talk to FRANK – Independent government funded web site maintained to provide information, help and support to the public.
  • DrugScope – UK leading independent centre of expertise on drugs.
  • Tackling Drugs Changing Lives – This Home Office website provides drugs professionals with the latest news and guidance from government about the drug strategy.

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