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Hanging Out With Friends Stunts Substance Abuse in Teens

Family. School. Friends.

Ready for some good news? Well, here it is: According to a recent study, if your teen is a social butterfly who lives for socializing and hanging out with all three of these groups – family, school and friends- it actually provides them with a trifecta of protection against substance abuse. Specifically, teens who enjoy spending time with these groups are less likely to use marijuana, binge drink and smoke.

How’s that for some good news?

Surprising Stats

When researchers surveyed more than 1000 high school students between the ages of 13 and 17, they discovered social identification with family, school and groups of friends “vastly lowered the incidence of substance abuse.”

Here’s a look at the specifics:

  • Binge drinking occurred in 41.6 percent of teens with no social identifications.
  • Binge drinking dropped to 25.6 percent among those with all three identifications.


  • 13 percent of teens with no social identifications used marijuana.
  • Only 2.7 percent with all three identifications used marijuana


  • Smoking was a habit for 24.1 percent of the teens with no identifications.
  • Smoking decreased to 8.8 percent for those with all three identifications.

Connection, Not Contact

Social butterfly hanging out stunts, substance abuse in teensThe study’s results revealed another important aspect of teenage interactions: They need a greater level of contact than just a casual greeting or wave from the kitchen window – they need to feel important.

Teens have decreased chances of turning to drugs or alcohol when they have stronger family connections and feel they belong in a group of friends. Hey, nobody likes to feel like they’re just riding the sidelines all alone – especially if you’re a teenager in the most formative years of life.

Triple Play, Not Single

Wondering if it’s important for your teen to identify with all three of these groups? The answer is a resounding yes. In fact, the teens who only identified with the friends group were more likely to engage in risky behaviors and abuse drugs or alcohol.

When it comes to giving your teenager the best chance at a happy, healthy life, socializing with a combination of all three groups is a great tool in the fight against substance abuse.