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Substance Abuse: The Cause of Social Problems


Social problems are inherent when members of a society behave in a manner that is contrary to the acceptable norms and regulations. There are other social problems that are not attributed to behavior but to social structures. Examples of the former are crime, juvenile delinquency, escalating divorce rates and substance abuse.

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Examples of the latter are poverty, AIDS and wars. Social problems are many and usually interconnected such that one problem will usually have many causal factors behind it and the factors will also have others that are behind it. Some of the factors leading to social problems are instability of the family institution, psychological problems as well as poor political and economic structures. This paper seeks to look at the role of substance abuse in social problems.

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Substance abuse is a contributing factor to social problems but cannot be said to be the one that is most responsible. For a factor to be more responsible it would mean that eradicating it would mean fewer problems since it has a big share in causing them. Contrary to this rehabilitation of substance abusers and control of problems would not lead to a significant reduction of the Social problems.

According to Lauer 1986, the causal factors can be classified as primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary factors are the root causes of problems whose prevalence results to secondary problems. These secondary problems can also be described as secondary causes of tertiary problems. Substance abuse is a secondary problem and thus cannot be said to be the most responsible. Lauer indicates that social problems are very much inter connected.

Substance abuse is a social problem that can be attributed to the inadequacy of the family institution. Juvinile delinquency can be fuelled by substance abuse in children whereby children indulge in criminal activities like bullying and even theft. A good example is that of street kids who sniff glue which as (The Social Impact) puts it, reduces feelings of hunger, increases feelings of bravery and reduces pain. These features of glue are supposed facilitate their ability to cope with their harsh life. Looking intently at this scenario we find that these street children are not in any family setting. This institution is non existent for them since there are no guardians to mentor or guide them.

This therefore means that the lack of a family institution for these children necessitates their indulgence to abuse of substances and eventual delinquent habits or behaviors. If the substance abuse is dealt with and the children left in those very conditions, of being under no guardian or institution, juvenile delinquency would still thrive. It is also noteworthy that there are children in families with even both of their parents or other guardians that get themselves in the problem of substance abuse.

The explanation of such an occurrence is failure of the family in addressing issues. The parents may be too busy with their schedules and lack time to spend with their children who in turn spend it with the wrong company.

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The family institution plays a big role in shaping up individuals right from their childhood to adulthood. This can therefore be classified as a primary factor which if dealt with can contribute to a great reduction in social problems. Substance abuse is characterized by addiction such that one cannot survive without using the substance. Examples of these substances are drugs such as cocaine, heroine, marijuana and alcohol.

There are medicines that are also sold over the counter and abused by being consumed for other purposes than what they are meant for. Substance abusers are usually involved in crime because living on drugs or those other substances that are usually abused is a very expensive affair which many cannot afford with their meager incomes. They therefore have to substitute or complement their income sources through other means which may contravene the laws and statutes of that region.

Other social problems like poverty and wars which are mostly encountered in less developed countries cannot be blamed on substance abuse. The social structures as well as political structures are the ones to blame for that. A country that has poor governance and leadership will always have poverty as a problem. People will be poor even if they work so hard because if the political structures are weak such factors such as inflation, corruption set in and push the economy further down. Poverty also results in other social problems such as crime, juvenile delinquency and involvement in illegal businesses like drugs.


Substance abuse is just one of the many secondary causes of social problems and is also another social problem that is brought about by other causes. Dealing with it does not guarantee a society devoid of problems since it is never an underlying cause. Primary factors can be described as the ones that are more than any other factors responsible for the prevalent social problems.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 16). Substance Abuse: The Cause of Social Problems.

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"Substance Abuse: The Cause of Social Problems." StudyCorgi, 16 Oct. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Substance Abuse: The Cause of Social Problems." October 16, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Substance Abuse: The Cause of Social Problems." October 16, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Substance Abuse: The Cause of Social Problems." October 16, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Substance Abuse: The Cause of Social Problems'. 16 October.

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