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Drug Use and the Importance of Your Peers

There are all kinds of factors that influence a person’s susceptibility to drug abuse and addiction. We know, for instance, that there are genetic factors that play a role. Certain genes predispose some people to alcoholism or other addictive behaviors, and many people who struggle with addiction can name several family members with similar problems.

In addition to genes, environment can play a substantial role in determining whether a person develops a substance abuse problem. It seems only logical that being surrounded by drug users will increase a person’s likelihood of developing a substance abuse problem. These two strong influences on addiction development–genetics and environment–also have a surprising influence on each other, as shown by a recent study on peer drug use.

This Washington University study looked at more than 2,000 female twins, comparing information on the women’s own substance use and that of their friends. What the researchers found was that a woman’s genetic tendency to use drugs was linked to her exposure to drug-using friends. In fact, associating with friends who use drugs seemed to increase the genetic influences on substance abuse.

Studies like these point to the importance of a residential drug treatment center like Vista Taos. At Vista Taos, people struggling with addiction have a safe and supportive environment in which to heal and regain control of their life. It is obvious that peer groups have a tremendous influence on our behavior, and a stay at a residential drug treatment center removes the negative influence of drug-using peers. At a residential drug treatment center like Vista Taos, recovering addicts are surrounded by a supportive group of peers who understand the difficulty and importance of the recovery process. Substituting the negative influence of drug-using peers with the positive influence of recovering users can have a hugely beneficial impact on one’s journey of recovery from drug addiction.

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