Are Celebrities Influencing Drug Use Among Teens?
Miley Cyrus sang about Molly and hard partying. Wiz Khalifa is difficult to recognize without a joint (or two) in hand. O.T. Genasis’ love song to cocaine became a viral media sensation and it seems more movie and TV stars today are abusing drugs and alcohol than those who are not.
Society’s obsession with celebrities means their every move is documented in magazine, gossip blogs, and grainy cellphone videos sent into TMZ. But is this over exposure to celebrities and celebrity culture having an adverse effect on teens and young adults? Are celebrities influencing drug use among teens?
Substance abuse among celebrities is hardly a new phenomenon- however they are becoming more bold and open about their substance abuse. While some choose to speak out about the ill effects of abusing drugs and alcohol either by choice or court order, there are a dozen other examples of irresponsible substance abuse going unchecked. So what does that mean for teens?
According to an article by New Beginning Adolescent Recovery Center, studies show that about two-thirds of parents think their children are exposed by too much inappropriate content by the media and one-quarter of teens are more influenced by celebrities than people in their lives. With over 20,000 songs and movies referencing drugs in the last 30 years, the message teens are getting isn’t necessarily positive.
However, those numbers show a majority of teens still rely on family and friends as behavioral references, meaning with proper education and positive influences most teens can be guided away from the dangers of substance dependency and addiction. However, the fact that such a large portion of teens are turning to celebrities and Hollywood as role models and mentors is cause for concern.
The media and celebrities are influences over impressionable children and teens, yes. However, the proper interventions and counter-mediation from parents, teachers and other family members can help.
Do you think Hollywood should be held responsible for the influence it has over children and teens? Comment below with your thoughts.
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About the Author
Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.