Drugs and Alcohol

Social life, drugs and alcohol

Social life and fitting in with other young people is important to many teenagers. People told us that fitting in means experimenting, socialising, and bonding with friends. People described drugs and alcohol as being part of this, saying that they were:
  • ‘Fun’ and ‘exciting’
  • An ‘interesting’ thing to do with friends
  • As a way to enhance their experience
  • Or simply a phase that young people go through.
Young men and women said they drank alcohol for ‘Dutch courage’ to make themselves feel more confident in groups of people. Some drank alcohol or took drugs because they wanted to ‘look cool’ in front of other people they knew. This tactic didn’t always work and some ended up being sick in front of the person they wanted to impress!
Young people like Sophie or Sam described life at home or in small towns and villages as ‘dull’. They said that drinking alcohol or using drugs was like a ‘hobby’ to relieve the boredom.

Alcohol was also appealing to young people we spoke to because they didn’t have a lot of money to spend on their social lives and drinking alcohol seemed cheap compared with other activities. Hugh pointed out he could buy enough drinks to last an evening for the cost of a cinema ticket.
Specials offers on drinks such as ‘happy hours’ and the cheap deals available during Freshers’ weeks can be appealing to young people on a budget . Alex said he’d be more tempted to use cannabis and other drugs if they were free.

See also alcohol and social life.

Last reviewed: July 2018.
Last updated: January 2015


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