top of page
  • Omni Youth Programs

When Your Older Sibling Uses Drugs

Updated: Feb 3, 2022

Role models are important when growing up. They set positive examples and expectations. But what happens when a role model is an older sibling/cousin that is setting a bad example and using drugs?

In today’s blog, we will go over the negative influence an older sibling might have when they use drugs and how a younger sibling can influence an older sibling.

Pressure of the Older Sibling

When you see your older sibling using marijuana or other drugs there might be a slight pressure to partake as well, especially if you look up to them.

“Well, if they’re doing it, then it should be ok for me to try it as well!”

There’s also the possibility where an older sibling offers you to try drugs with them. There could be some peer pressure from your older sibling. “Come on, it’s just one hit (or sip).” Or “I’d rather you try it with me rather than at some random persons house.” It’s hard to say no to peer pressure, but even harder to say no when its coming from your older sibling.

When I was younger, one of my friends started using marijuana. She told me that the first time she tried smoking was with her brother. After that she started using once in a while and said “it’s “fine” because she gets the weed from her older brother.

Using at a young age can increase the chance of addiction. If a person uses before the age of 21, there is a 40-80% chance of addiction in adult years. It also affects the developing brain and can cause memory loss, lower IQ, and even anxiety and depression.

Influence of the Younger Sibling

While older siblings can influence younger siblings, it can work the other way as well. Younger siblings can influence older siblings’ decisions. I know many people who do not use drugs because they want to be a good role model for their younger sibling. They know that if they use, there is a greater chance that the younger sibling will use as well. They truly embrace being a good role model for their younger sibling.

While its true siblings influence each other, it does not have to be in a negative way. If your older sibling is offering you marijuana or other drugs and you feel uncomfortable with it, you can still say no to them. You can even voice that you are uncomfortable with them using and tell them you’re concerned because you care for them.

To learn about how marijuana has evolved in the recent years, see our other article "Not Your Mamas Weed"

Check out our YouTube video - "What to Say When Someone Tries to Pressure You To Use Marijuana" for those moments of peer pressure

And “Lets Talk Pot Part 2: How Does My Young Brain React to Marijuana” to learn more about how marijuana can affect your developing brain.

Also follow us on social media where we share youth marijuana and alcohol prevention tips and data!

65 views6 comments


Jocelyn Lat
Jocelyn Lat
Apr 29

As an older sibling, this article helped open the realization that younger siblings also have the ability to influence the older sibling. I feel like as older siblings enter adulthood, they are handling more responsibilities and stress could increase. With younger siblings still exploring their identity and have more free time, the opportunity is given where the younger sibling would refer to alternative activities to de-stress to their older siblings, specifically using drugs. This is a great read not only targeted to blood-related siblings, but to people who see their peers as "siblings".


May 09, 2023

This article was personally very informative for me as the oldest sibling in my family, I do feel like I am a role model for my younger siblings. Since my siblings are still young, after reading this article, I feel more cautious about my action since it can influence them in good or bad ways. I also want to share this article with my younger siblings, especially to understand the importance of saying "no" when they feel uncomfortable.


Adrianna Zovich
Adrianna Zovich
Dec 10, 2022

This article was very informational! I had never thought about how younger siblings can influence older siblings to be good role models and not use drugs. It made me think about myself and how I am an oldest sibling and how I often base my actions on how my younger siblings will react. I also didn't know that siblings are such influential shapers of who we become. Overall, I learned so much from this!


Jessica Estrada
Jessica Estrada
Dec 09, 2022

We spend so much of our Time with our siblings in our childhood as well as sharing many genes that it seems natural we are more influenced by them than our own parents. There is a very strong bond that requieres trust and loyalty and in many cases causes one to cover for them or go along with them. Many younger siblings look up to their older siblings and tend to copy what they do as well as protect them and many times unknowingly enabling their drug use further if not engaging with them. Both parties can avoid drugs by engaging in other positive and healthy activities together that can avoid the drug environment.


Dec 03, 2022

An influence is an influence is an influence. No matter who you are, siblings, cousins, mother, or father, using drugs with or around people under age is just not okay. I grew up with parents who were both addicted to drugs. My father has been incarcerated since I was 2 and my mother struggled with drugs for a long time, she has now been clean for over 10 years. But I told myself I would NEVER put my children through what they did to my sister and I. In high school, I would go to the parties, but I was always the "mom" and took care of everyone. Today at 27, I have learned much more about what actually wh…

bottom of page