Social Networking Sites May Hinder Drug Rehab Recovery
Facebook, MySpace and Twitter may be contributing to relapses for teenagers enrolled in drug rehab programs, say researchers at UCLA. According to a recent article, such social networking sites might make it more difficult for adolescents to say no when they see posts from friends about substance use.
Lead author of the study, David Tran, gave 37 teenagers a 20 question survey to see if they were affected by online influences such as social networking. Though the pool of teenagers was small, 92 percent of participants were affected by such social networking environments.
Three fourths of the girls and over half of the boys polled said there were triggers on these sites that tempted them with drugs and made them want to use. The study, though preliminary, shows that social networking venues may create environmental cues hindering their drug rehab.
Tran says although the study was exploratory he would like to use a larger sample group in the future for more decisive results. He felt that his academic and life experiences combined with his training helped him complete this study because he grew up in Orange County in a low income neighborhood and was able to develop a rapport with the students.
Tran said the study helped him put everything together to look at solutions and tackle a true problem in our society. He doesn’t believe restricting social networking sites from drug rehab patients will work though because he feels they will find other avenues to going online.
Social networking may be only one aspect of environmental factors that may cause relapse in drug rehab patients. Tran does think that social networking sites might also provide an avenue in drug rehab counseling.
Tran and his mentor, Keith Heinzerling both plan to use social networks as an aid in drug rehab treatment programs in the future by setting up a Facebook group for support.