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Drug Use and the Media: What Is the Influence on Society?

In: English and Literature

Submitted By jillianeglitis
Words 2927
Pages 12
In recent years, television programs that focus on heavy drug use have been on the rise. One show in particular, Breaking Bad, has been a major hit with teens and young adults. A total of 10.3 million viewers tuned into watch the show’s series finale, 5.2 million of which were adults age 18-49 (Entertainment Weekly). Focusing on the drug business regarding crystal meth Breaking Bad depicts a thrillingly dangerous lifestyle. The show has developed a dedicated following, but one cannot help but wonder, what effect is this type of show having on its viewers? One might assume that television programming would have a strong influence on the habits of young viewers, so the main question is: what, if any, is the correlation between the increase in drug use on television and drug use among teens and young adults? There is a large amount of drug use on television, ranging from programming to advertising during commercial breaks. A study titled “Television Advertising and Drug Use,” published in the American Journal of Public Health, “investigated TV drug advertising as a factor in encouraging the abuse of legitimate and illegitimate drugs” (Peterson et al). The purpose of the study was to determine whether or not current National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) guidelines regarding drug advertising commercials are strict enough. While the discussion portion of the study revealed that there is room for improvement, it also stated:
Our findings do not establish a causal link between drug advertising and drug abuse. However, they suggest that drug promotion on television tends to encourage favorable attitudes towards drug use through exaggerated claims and through failure to point out the need to exercise appropriate caution in drug taking. Other studies have implied a relation between the susceptibility of drug-using individuals to advertising and their tendencies toward...

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