Posting, texting, and related social risk behavior while high

BACKGROUND: Posting on social media can have lasting consequences in one’s social life and career. Research has not yet focused on social media or more modern forms of communication as social risk factors for individuals high on drugs. This study aims to examine prevalence and correlates of engaging in social media posting and related behavior while high.

METHODS: We examined data from 872 adults (39.8% female) who were surveyed entering electronic dance music (EDM) parties in New York City and reported lifetime illegal drug use. Participants were asked whether they were ever high on a drug while (1) posting on social media, (2) calling or texting someone, and (3) being in a photo. Those answering affirmatively were also asked whether they later regretted the behavior. We examined demographic and drug-related correlates of these behaviors.

RESULTS: Of the participants, 34.3% posted on social media while high (with 21.4% regretting it), 55.9% had texted or called someone while high (with 30.5% regretting it), and 47.6% had been in a photo while high (with 32.7% regretting it). Females and young adults (ages 18-24) were at high risk for posting on social media while high and at higher risk for engaging in more of these behaviors. Past-month marijuana users in particular were at increased risk for engaging in each of these behaviors.

CONCLUSION: Engaging in these behaviors while high on drugs appears to be prevalent, and prevention and harm reduction efforts should seek to prevent or reduce likelihood of social harm that can result from such situations.

Full citation:
Palamar JJ, Le A, Acosta P (2020).
Posting, texting, and related social risk behavior while high
Substance Abuse, 41 (3), 382-390. doi: 10.1080/08897077.2019.1635966. PMCID: PMC7122951.