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Drug Abuse And Pop Culture Essay

566 words - 3 pages

There is a good deal of concern that media depictions of illicit drugs, alcohol, or tobacco inaccurately portray the true nature of drug abuse and its negative consequences. I want to describe how I feel the social problem of drug abuse is reflected by the media through music and television. However, I mainly want to focus on the influence of music videos. I think that drug abuse has been overly glamorized showing the younger generation that using illicit drugs (mainly marijuana) is socially acceptable. Not only is marijuana glamorized but alcohol is as well.

Music videos featuring performers and sexually clad women using illicit drugs and alcohol can be found on several channels. The main video channels that I watch are BET, MTV, and VH-1. These channels cater to audiences of different ages, gender, and music preferences. These channels ...view middle of the document...

However, marijuana was most commonly referred to in rap lyrics and drug use or drug dealing as a major theme. Out of all the videos I watched only one conveyed a clear-anti drug message, however most videos were unclear sending mixed messages.

Alcohol is most frequently visually portrayed in most videos and films. Alcohol is mainly associated with “partying”. I also think sex/eroticism can be found as a dominant theme with the portrayals of alcohol. Although substance abuse is portrayed in some music videos I found more depictions in movies and films. My conclusion is that although substance abuse is portrayed less frequently in music videos when substances are shown visually, they are likely to be consumed and this behavior can be shown as rewarding and pleasant.

There is substantial evidence that exposure to mass media influences mainly young viewers’ attitudes, values and behavior in a number of areas; one of them being substance abuse. I think the most influential pop-culture is music. Listening to music happens to be adolescent’s number one non-school activity. Unlike lyrics alone music videos in particular contain visual portrayals that can be imitated and modeled. I think although we have different portrayals of substance abuse in television, music, motion pictures ultimately this interpretation can differ from each individual. Mainly, this interpretation is based on the influence of parents or peers and variations in cultural and social backgrounds.

I think the portrayal of substance abuse in today’s pop culture mainly music videos has two sides. If on one hand substance abuse is portrayed rarely and negatively then it makes little sense to attribute adolescent’s substance use to the effects of music videos. If substance use is presented as dangerous, unglamorous and socially unacceptable the role of music videos may be positive in its messages working to discourage rather than encourage.

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