Across media types, everyone exploits drug addiction: music, movies, television and now, even the theater is getting in on it. There have even been research studies done to determine the percentage of times that drug abuse and drug addiction is mentioned in different genres of music.
Parent groups have formed solely to protest the number of times that drug abuse or certain drugs of addiction are mentioned in music or shown on the screen. Some people say that the sheer number of times that our children hear references to drugs of addiction including alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, heroin and club drugs is part of what makes them more comfortable with experimentation. Others say that there are benefits to the fact that drug abuse and addiction is so readily discussed in our society.
Drug Addiction in Entertainment: Glorification
It’s true that there are a number of people-and not just children-who may see their favorite actor in a movie or a character on their favorite show use drugs without consequences or in such a way as to make their character seem “cool” or “tough” and want to emulate that. It’s true that athletes, performers, musicians and actors that are often in the public eye may not realize that their choices may influence others. Some believe that these people-the writers of primetime television, performers of music played on the radio, and the artists who act the way they do in front of the paparazzi-should view themselves as role models and make more responsible decisions as a result.
Drug Addiction in Entertainment: Education
Others view the constant attention paid to drug abuse and addiction in the media as an opportunity to educate. Few can honestly say that they don’t know that drug addiction and abuse is a deadly problem. For as many depictions of people who use without consequence, there are just as many who are in recovery or losing everything due to their addiction. This offers parents the opportunity to educate their children on the deadly nature of drug addiction in a way that is seamless and intuitive. For others who are older, these references to drug addiction and the constant attention paid to celebrities heading into a drug rehab program as well as the celebrities in the news who die due to drug overdose at least suggests that not everyone makes it through the problem alive. Hopefully, teachers, parents and those who are curious about what they are putting in their own bodies will take advantage of the media attention and make it an opportunity to provide drug education and prevention.
What Do You Think?
Do you think that the media references to drugs and alcohol are part of the problem or part of the solution? Is it a little bit of both? And outside of the fact that parents have the right to censor what their children watch, do you believe that, ultimately, everyone is responsible for themselves or do you think that those in the entertainment business are liable? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.