It is well known that drugs in pop culture have a heavy influence in society. Today it is commonplace for drug and alcohol references and outright usage to occur in popular music, movies, and even literature. Children see drugs in pop culture references in cartoons and movies all the time even though they may not realize it. Kids have also been known to emulate the behavior using ordinary items such as candy and juice, sometimes leading to oral fixation tendencies that manifest later on in their lives as habitual smoking and drinking. Drugs in pop culture has a much more profound on our youth than people want to admit.
Influence on Teenagers
A lot of teenagers are stressed by school and their social lives; being introduced to drugs and alcohol, by either their peers or what they read and watch, can open the doorway for them try these unhealthy methods to alleviate that stress. Stress is not always the case however. Peer pressure can also play a big role in the development of teenage substance abuse. Peer pressure is constantly being reinforced by recurrences of drug and alcohol use in movies and television. Drugs in pop culture gives kids an "image" that is very appealing and cool. Society's standards of acceptance revolve around our cultural influences, and with popular artists referencing or using drugs it has become somewhat ordinary for teens to try them out. Some artists even use drug street names like Molly, Mary Jane or reefer in their music, inadvertently teaching about them. Certain television and movie characters even try to justify drug usage by stating that it enhances awareness, expands mental boundaries, or just make it look enjoyable or cool.
Entertainers and Substance Abuse
Drugs in pop culture transcends though all avenues of entertainment, including sports. The sports world has often been scrutinized for being a nexus of all sorts of drug usage. From performance enhancers to stress alleviating drugs, athletes throughout the ages have been accused and convicted in a number of drug cases. Even though sports is a big part of our society, they openly endorse alcohol and make it look enticing to people young and old and few individuals complain.
Society is constantly watching drugs in pop culture evolve; taking part in what is depicted as being "acceptable" whether it should be or not. Television shows like "Gossip Girl" and "Jersey Shore" show young adults drinking excessively while having fun. Often people believe that they need to drink to have a good time or to "fit in" and shows like that are not teaching the younger generation any better. The problem is society's acceptance of drug and alcohol use due to pop culture constantly making it seem glamorous. Shows like "Weeds" and "Breaking Bad" show their main characters getting into trouble for drug possession and use but getting out eventually and reaping the benefits. Although the characters often go too far, the shows construe the message that it is possible to get away with such activity and live well because of it.
With music artists singing about drugs and alcohol, and movies and television rarely showing the negative repercussions and accidents that can occur because of usage, it is unsurprising that our society increasingly has young smokers and drinkers who are not living the long full lives they deserve.