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The Link Between Millennials and Addiction

Millennials are people born in the 1980s to 2000, who then reach adulthood in the 21st century. They are also known as Generation Y, following Generation X, and are sometimes referred to as the “echo boomers”. More recently a fact has come to light: Millennials are more prone to addiction than other generations.  But what is the link between Millennials and addiction? In this article, we will look at why millennial drug addiction seems more common than in other generations.

6 Minute Read | Published Sep 18 2023 | Updated Jan 24 2024

What are the Links Between Millennials and Addiction?

Financial Security

There was a time before Generation Y where all you needed for job security was to finish high school and maybe go to college, but today finishing a degree in college does not mean that you are guaranteed a job. Without financial security, people are expected to be under more stress and pressure as they live from paycheck to paycheck, often missing important payments. Furthermore, college is more important than ever, and without a comfortable salary, the debt incurred from their studies adds even more stress. As such, this added stress is believed to one of the links between Millennials and addiction.

The Internet Age

Without a doubt, Generation Y is the only one to be so impacted by the advent of the internet. These days, nearly every millennial is hooked on social media. Gaining followers and likes can cause a release of dopamine, which is believed to be one of the gateways to seeking short-term dopamine fixes through substance abuse. Millennial drug use has increased as more people become physically disconnected due to social media and devices.

The Return Home

Previous generations had their job security and salary to be able to move out of home as soon as they were old enough. But since there is next to no work for most Millennials when they finish their studies, many of them are moving back in with mom and dad because they simply can’t afford living by themselves in the current work climate. The previous generation lived through economic boom, which means that many of them are able to support their children as they look for work.

However, when looking at Millennials and addiction, it is easy to see why some may turn to alcohol and drugs to relieve some of the stress and depression caused by being out-of-work and living back at home again.

Fading Taboo

Millennials were raised by the hippie generation that preached free drugs and love. They also lived in a time where legal drugs were claiming more lives than illegal ones. The taboo of the older generation is no longer present with regards to substance abuse. Millennials don’t fear drug use like previous generations have and are therefore more prone to millennial drug use.

Getting Help

Millennial drug addiction can make it even more difficult to create a good life for yourself. An addiction effects nearly every area of a person’s life such as their motivation, problem solving and it can cause many social and vocational problems. In a world where you need every advantage to find a good job, stopping drug use is of the utmost importance. Dealing with Millennials and addiction can be done by seeking a rehab center.

The main aim of a rehab is to assist an addict in managing their addiction as a disease. Only through therapy, relapse prevention techniques, support groups and possibly addiction treatment medication can a person effectively stop abusing alcohol and drugs – especially if they’ve failed stopping before.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at (800) 429-7690.


bullet Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2020)
"Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. PEP20-07-01-001, NSDUH Series H-55). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration"
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bullet Sussman, S., Arnett, J. J., & Ashavaid, T. F. (2020)
"Emerging Adulthood and Substance Abuse. In A. S. Evans, L. S. Barrett, & R. D. McIntosh (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Emerging Adulthood (pp. 191-207). Oxford University Press"
Retrieved on June 25, 2018
bullet Wetherill, R. R., & Fromme, K. (2016)
"Alcohol Use, Sexual Interactions, and Risky Behavior Among College Students: Evaluating a Comprehensive Risk Prevention Program. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 77(1), 105-115"
Retrieved on June 25, 2018
bullet National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020)
"Monitoring the Future Study: Trends in Prevalence of Various Drugs for 8th Graders, 10th Graders, and 12th Graders; 2020"
Retrieved on June 25, 2018
bullet Terry-McElrath, Y. M., O’Malley, P. M., & Johnston, L. D. (2013)
"Reasons for Drug Use Among American Youth by Consumption Level, Gender, and Race/Ethnicity: 1976-2009. Journal of Drug Issues, 43(3), 283-304"
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bullet Arnett, J. J. (2005)
"The Developmental Context of Substance Use in Emerging Adulthood. Journal of Drug Issues, 35(2), 235-253"
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bullet Miech, R. A., Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., Schulenberg, J. E., & Patrick, M. E. (2020)
"Monitoring the Future National Survey Results on Drug Use, 1975-2019: Volume II, College Students and Adults Ages 19-60. Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan"
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bullet Kelly, B. C., Vuolo, M., Pawson, M., & Wells, B. E. (2019)
"Do Generational Cohorts Matter in Substance Use Trends? A Comparative Analysis of Baby Boomer, Generation X, and Millennial High School Seniors. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 205, 107633"
Retrieved on June 25, 2018

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