Drug users regret posting on social media while high

New York: Posting on social media, texting or calling while high on drugs is prevalent among young people, and many say that they regret this behaviour later, researchers said.

“Risky social media posts, including those showing people high on drugs, have the potential to cause embarrassment, stress and conflict for users and those in their social networks,” said study lead author Joseph Palamar, Associate Professor at New York University.

“It can also have adverse implications for one’s career, since the majority of employers now use social media platforms to screen job candidates and may search for evidence of substance use,” he added.

Published in the journal Substance Abuse, the study points to the potential social harm associated with substance use which are likely overlooked and go beyond well-established health risks.

For the study, the researchers examined data from 872 adults surveyed while entering electronic dance music (EDM) parties in New York City who reported current or previous drug use.

The researchers estimate that more than a third of EDM attendees (34.3 per cent) posted on social media while high, with 21.4 per cent regretting it. In addition, more than half (55.9 per cent) had texted or called someone while high, with 30.5 per cent regretting making a call or sending a text. Nearly half (47.6 per cent) had been in a photo while high, with 32.7 per cent regretting it.

“At least one in five experienced regret after engaging in these behaviours while high, suggesting that some situations may have resulted in socially harmful or embarrassing scenarios,” Palamar said.

Females and young adults (aged 18-24) were particularly at an elevated risk for posting on social media while high and were also more likely to text, make calls, and take photos while high.

Although young adults are a known high-risk demographic for substance use, females are typically at lower risk than males. However, research shows that females are more likely to use social media.

EDM attendees who identified as neither heterosexual, nor gay, nor bisexual were also at a higher risk for social media posting and related behaviours while high.

Separately, black participants were at a much lower risk for these activities.

Compared to users of other drugs, current marijuana users were at the highest risk for engaging in these risky behaviours while high, followed by current cocaine users.