According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 17 million Americans aged 12 or older had abused or were dependent on drugs in the year 2001 (SAMHSA.gov).
This number does not even include over the counter drugs, which are the most commonly abused. With the number of drugs in the world and the number of people abusing them, it is a serious problem which deserves some attention. Any person over the legal age can walk into a gas station or minute market and buy a beer and a pack of cigarettes.
Drug abuse is a serious problem in our world and with the casual attitude our supposed role models take to it; who can blame people for not taking the matter seriously. People abusing drugs and promoting the use of drugs are seen every day; whether it is on television, in music, or in close personal contact with friends and family. Drug abuse is a serious problem, and we as active members of our society need to push our government, our parents, and society to better manage the regulations they have on this type of content.
The FCC or Federal Communications Commission is in charge of regulating what can and cannot be shown on television. However, they can only regulate certain channels and at certain times. Channels such as HBO, Cinemax, Stars, and Encore can show what they please, as long as it is past 10P.M (FCC.org). However, even the most popular afternoon television shows can also say what they please, as long as they are willing to pay the fines.
Family Guy, The Simpsons, and the ever so popular Super Bowl are just a few popular hit television shows who have been fined by the FCC.
These are shows that broadcast at 5 and 6 in the afternoon. It is outrageous that these well known and huge companies, such as FOX and the WB can get away with these mannerisms as long as they pay the price. They know that no serious consequences will come of their actions; so they do as they please. The FCC needs to evaluate the current regulations that they have, make more strict rules, and have heftier fines for those who break the rules.
The music industry is no better than that of the television. The music industry has no regulations, except a slap of a “Parental Advisory” sticker on music with explicit lyrics. Those same “Parental Advisory” stickers, that no music store pays any attention.
If a music store sells a parental advisory labeled CD to a minor, they feel no repercussions. They cannot be fined or closed down; so why should they not make money off of the eager children waiting to buy the new Eminem album. That same Eminem album has lyrics such as “But you’re young, you’ve got a lot of drugs to do” and “In third grade, all I used to do was sniff glue through a tube (Eminem.net).”
These are lyrics from a song that any child, no matter the age, can walk into a store and buy. Are these really things that we want children, teenagers, or even adults listening to? Parents, and the record companies need to understand what kind of effect this music has on impressionable young people and limit their access to it. They need to start screening the content of the music before they allow their children to have it.
Not only are children and adults presented with jokes and the mentioning of drugs on television and in music, but unfortunately are often around it at home. According to the SAMHSA, in 2002, almost 5 million adults who were abusing or were dependent on some type of drug had at least one child under the age of 18 living at home with them (SAMHSA.gov). Many people live with or have family members that abuse, or are dependent on drugs, whether it is tobacco, alcohol, or illicit drugs. Also, children whose parents use, or are dependent on drugs, are more likely to use or become dependent themselves.
I personally am addicted to cigarettes, and I believe that the biggest reason I began smoking is because my mother did. If I had never been around cigarettes in my home, I believe that I would not have begun smoking at all or at least at not such an early age. Human beings react to their environment, and the effects are inescapable. If you are surrounded by certain habits, you are more likely to adopt that habit yourself, even if it something as miniscule as biting your nails or as serious as using drugs. You are the product of your environment.
I personally believe that drug abuse will experience more social change over the next ten years than any other social problems. I think that the problems with drug abuse are only going to worsen due to the present social state of our country. With the War on Iraq, problems in North Korea, and all of the other social problems in the home front, drug abuse has been shoved to the backburner.
In the 1970s and 1980s only a certain group of people were classified as drug abusers by society. They were hippies, the rock and rollers, gang members, the homeless, and other poor parts of society. As years have progressed and more types of people have been deemed drug abusers, our ideas and symbols we use have changed dramatically. Now drug abusers can be found everywhere, some are people you would never suspect leading very normal lives.
However, they can lead deceiving lives being alcoholics, pill-poppers, crack heads, meth-heads, and there are many other types of classified drug addicts. There are also drug addicts that have less negative connotations, because they seem more normal, they are seen as people who are stressed out from their busy corporate lives.
These are people who take sleep aids on a daily basis, depend on anti-depression pills to lead normal lives, or one of the many other type of drug abusers.
Drug abusers come in all shapes and sizes, and most go their whole lives without being discovered.
To effectively manage this problem our country faces, we have to first collectively admit that there is a problem. After it is admitted that here is a problem, than you can effectively devise a plan to manage it. The best way to do this is to create an action plan, policies and procedures we want to establish to manage drug abuse in America. To manage this type of problem you would need to limit the abusers access to negative media that would only feed their addiction. You would also have to keep watch of their daily activities and support them through their recovery.
Drug abuse is a touchy subject, and it often gets brushed under the rug for that very reason. Many types of people from all walks of society abuse drugs, but that does not make it right. It is a matter which is taken too lightly by the government, by the FCC,and even by families. These shocking statistics should be a wakeup call, not an excuse. Just because the people on television do it, just because famous music artists do it, and even if your family and friends do it, it does not make it okay.
If people do not begin taking this matter more seriously, instead of accepting it as a large scale problem, there is no telling what these same statistics might look like in years to come. Drug abuse has always been around, and the numbers are growing dramatically. Now is the time to take things seriously, and manage the problem effectively.