Individuals who are subjected to bullying are at risk for turning to substance abuse to cope with emotions related to bullying and isolation. One study found that “youth involved in bullying were more likely than students not involved in bullying to use substances, with bully-victims reporting the greatest levels of substance use” (Addictive Behaviors April 2012). The National Education Association (NEA) found that “[b]ullying affects nearly one in three American schoolchildren in grades six through 10. Eighty-three percent of girls and 79 percent of boys report experiencing harassment.” This means a staggering percentage of the student population is struggling with the effects of bullying and is at increased risk of addiction to drugs such as morphine. Bullying leaves victims feeling scared and unable to learn in school, and its effects may result in physical signs of illness. Bullied individuals may turn to morphine or other opiate drugs to mask perceived pain or numb fear and other emotions caused by verbal or physical harassment.
While being the victim of bullying puts teens and young adults at risk for substance abuse, bullying is not harmless for those initiating the harassing or violent behaviors. The NEA shares bullies are more likely to have criminal convictions or be arrested later in life and, “bullies are at even greater risk of suicide than their targets.” Bullies struggle with depression, anger and other mental health concerns, and they are not immune to substance abuse and addiction. Drugfree.org reports that “Only 1.6 percent of middle school students not involved in bullying reported marijuana use, compared with 11.4 percent of bullies. Among high school students, 13.3 percent who were not involved in bullying used marijuana, compared with 31.7 percent of bullies.” Cigarette and alcohol use followed similar patterns. Bullies may graduate to stronger drugs such as morphine, as addiction escalates over time. Opiates like morphine may provide temporary feelings of euphoria or numbness from negative emotions such as guilt or remorse, but addiction ultimately perpetuates violence and unhappiness. Bullying harms all parties involved and turns all participants into victims.
There is no wrong time or age to address the issue of addiction and the effects of bullying. If you or someone you love is addicted to morphine and struggling with mental health issues related to current or past bullying, call our toll-free helpline. We are here 24 hours a day to connect you to the best resources for lasting recovery.