UNL researchers take a closer look at how social circles play a role in drug use

Researchers with the University of Nebraska Lincoln have taken a closer look at the drug addiction in the rural parts of Nebraska. 
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN)-Researchers with the University of Nebraska Lincoln have taken a closer look at the drug addiction in the rural parts of Nebraska.

Specifically, how someone’s social circle plays a significant role in drug behaviors.

“One of the features of drugs being tied up in social relationships is that, especially if you trust them, you’re more inclined to engage in risky behaviors. You’re more inclined to take on their norms associated with drug use. So that might, you know, lead you to try multiple substances at once,” Kelly Markowski said.

Markowski says living in rural communities, people are more likely to know someone or be friends with someone or be friends with someone who might use drugs, which expose them to the possibility to use as well.

It can also make it more difficult to let go of that lifestyle., and rural communities might not have as many options for help either.

“Resources are limited. Resources in terms of people you can interact with, you know, the kinds of treatment programs that are available to you, all of those things are amplified in rural areas,” Markowski said.

Markowski said in these situations, it can be hard to get a loved one away from substance use. If you’re only sending a single person into treatment, they could easily slip back into old social circles and habits.

She said because of this, it can be important to involve others who are contributing to the behavior.

A solution? She says it basically comes down to family and strengthening those ties and those ties with the community. It’s also important for families to realize it’s not going to be easy for that person to leave their social circles and be fine. It will take time to re-associate things like drug use with other behaviors.

You can read more about the research here.

Categories: Nebraska News, News