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Technology has continued to advance within our country and society, and as it does, we continue to become more reliant on it for a multitude of things. And while these technological advances are able to make day to day operations much more smooth, they have also affected substance abuse and addiction rates.
Effects of Social Media
Teens are one group that tends to be highly affected by the age of internet as far as substance abuse rates. In fact, according to the National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XVI: Teens and Parents, 70% of surveyed teenagers, aged 12-17, spent time on social media daily, and as a result of this were more five times likely to use tobacco, two times more likely to use marijuana, and three times more likely to use alcohol. Every day, individuals are exposed to different addiction related posts and images across social media.
The Online Drug Trade
Another large area that the internet age has influenced heavily is the access to drugs. The internet has made it easier than ever to purchase all different kinds of drugs. This is due to the large amounts of online pharmacy websites, which sell drugs of all different types. These types of websites are often illicit and run underground within the black market. They also typically do not require a prescription to obtain these drugs, in fact as much as about 85% of them do not. These underground markets often fly under the radar, and yet thousands of individuals continue to purchase from them and have substances delivered right to their door. A large danger with these sites is that because they are illicit, they are not regulated and an individual does not truly know what they are getting when they receive an order. The substance could be riddled with impurities, and additional ingredients to make them more potent. According to Psych Central, it is estimated that around 10% of prescription abusers obtain their drugs from online pharmacies.
Many of these sites rest in a part of the internet called the deep or dark web. This is a part of the internet that is only accessible through a special browser that can get into it. There are no real regulations around this part of the internet, which is why black market sites and illegal pharmacies can run amok. Fortunately, one of the largest of these black markets, called the Silk Road, was shut down in 2013 by the FBI, though there are still many sites in the trade. But this large black market facilitated and connected buyers and sellers for the purpose of moving drugs such as heroin, MDMA, ketamine, opium, cocaine, and many others.
While the internet and technological age have had some negative impacts in the realm of addiction, they have also provided positives as well. For instance, it is easier than ever for a person to be able to receive information about their addiction, substances, assistance, or treatment. They are able to ask questions, or even attend support groups over the internet. They can research different types of treatment, as well as be able to locate facilities or find a helpline number that they can call. It can sometimes be tough to admit an addiction or to ask questions about it, so the internet can provide a place that a person can do so without having to feel ashamed or feel like they are going to be judged by someone right in front of them. They can correspond through email or chat, and this allows them to open up a little bit about what it is going on. Many treatment sites now have live online chat services that allow the person to reach out for help without having to immediately confront speaking on the phone.
How to Find Help With a Drug or Alcohol Addiction
Addiction can be a complicated and difficult struggle, but it can be treated. There are a variety of different types of treatment and rehab centers that can help a person to overcome their addiction. Though there are a very large amount of treatment centers around the country, so it can be a bit confusing to know which one to choose. The reality is that not every treatment center is the same, and they offer varying levels of care and comprehensive treatment. Fortunately, we are here to help you or your loved one find the ideal treatment center. Our staff are familiar with the different types of treatment across the country and can help to find the best fit in a rehab for whoever is struggling. Take the first step toward a long and sober life and give us a call today.