Musical Influence on Drug Abuse

Musical Influence on Substance Abuse English 1302 Professor Young Sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. This commonly used phrase sums it up pretty well. It seems as though anytime I hear anything about a rock band, especially from the 1970’s or 1980’s there is some sort of drug abuse somewhere along the line with at least one or more of the band members, and this will usually result in the break up of the band or the death of a member.
Well I started getting sick of rock music getting a bad wrap when it comes to drugs and heavy drinking, so I want to know, does the music preference or type of music a band or person play have a direct link to the type of drug they prefer to use? Did that music cause the individual to use these certain drugs, or are people that already use these substances drawn to a certain type of music? There are any questions to be asked when looking at the different music genres and the people involved with its drug of choice.
Is crack and cocaine a problem in the ghetto’s because of rap music, or are these drugs in rap music because they were already prevalent in the ghetto’s? Do people take hallucinogenic drugs because it enhances the repetitive music they listen to, or are people getting into these type of drugs and then being drawn to that type of music because it intensifies the feeling of the drug. There are many questions that need to be asked and answered when it comes to musical preference and drug preference.

Some studies have been done, but I have yet to find anything conclusive, mostly just statistics about where people are going that do these drugs, not what they are listening to. I am to dig deeper into this issue and find out if there is something more than just the type of music or type of person. I feel as though some drugs are around certain types of music and people for a reason. Whether it is to intensify the listening pleasure of that individual, or if it has nothing to do with the music at all and it is just the individual’s preference.
I for one believe there is some sort of relationship between the two, I just don’t know what that is, yet. Rap music is one of the newest genres of music, but even rap has evolved to involve drug references in almost all of the most popular songs. A study done for addiction research and theory about changes in drug use being prevalent in rap songs showed that drugs were mentioned in 63% of rap songs, versus only about 10% of songs in other music genres.
Rap music saw a large influx in the use of lyrics about drugs starting in the early 1990’s with marijuana being the most frequented drug mentioned. Some could argue that the crack cocaine epidemic that started in the ghetto’s in the early 1990’s had a big influence in this, but then why is marijuana the most mentioned? My outtake on this is that people started using harder and harder drugs, making marijuana less taboo as the years went on, so now it is just second nature to talk about marijuana, it’s not as bad as it was once thought to be.
One example this article discussed was that rap artist Dr. Dre once said in a song “I don’t smoke weed or sinse, ‘cause it only gives a brother brain damage, and brain damage on the mike don’t manage. ” Then, one of his very next album was named “The Chronic,” and hit triple platinum. Ironic? Maybe a bit, but was he doing this purely to sell records, or was marijuana something Dr. Dre enjoyed and wanted to pay it tribute? I am going with the latter explanation. Seeing as how he has had many more songs since the release of that album glorifying the use of marijuana.
Next I wanted to take a look at the hard drugs and heavy drinking associated with the rock n’ roll lifestyle. If you take a look back at any great or largely influential band there is almost always traces of drug use and drinking. This has even proved to be the reason many of these bands do not still exist in today’s world. Try to find a picture of Slash, a guitarist for Guns n Roses, from the 1980’s, without him carrying around a bottle of Jack Daniels, it is nearly impossible. Most every rock n’ roll band from the 1980’s has a history of hard drug use and very heavy drinking.
Because of the rock music? Or is it that these artist have always enjoyed hard drugs and drinking, but now that they are in a successful rock band they can afford more of it. Did the entertainment industry ruin these artist by turning them into drug addicts and alcoholics? In all my readings it seems to point in one direction, and that is usually these people have always had issues with drug use or alcohol, but now, with little to worry about and more money pouring in than they know what to do with, combined with the rowd they are now associating themselves with, they let these substances take over their life, and before they know it, the situation is no longer controllable. The sad fact is that rock music is fast paced, fueled by drugs that keep people on the go and booze, because who doesn’t like a good stiff drink every once and a while. Rock n’ roll music has that “screw everything, lets have fun” mentality, when you mix that with a group of people that has a common interest in drugs or alcohol things tend to get a little out of hand.
Binge drinking, cocaine and heroin are the most common issues with substances that I have found about the rock n’ roll crowd. When people drink, especially in large amounts, inhibitions become lost, that coupled with the screw it attitude of rock music may help push someone to do those harder drugs that they would not normally do. From everything I’ve read, it seems as though rock music doesn’t cause people to do these things, but rather helps fuel these individuals decision to party harder and go further with their drug use.
Once alcohol, fast paced music and the right crowd of people are thrown into the mix, it is relatively easy to see how someone could fall victim to drug abuse and make poor decisions. One of the other types of music genres I wanted to take a look at was all the repetitive music out there, including, techno, dubstep, trance and house. I have known many people throughout the last few years that enjoy these types of music, some of them drug users, some of them not.
I have noticed that these people didn’t really have a drug of choice but rather did a little of everything, except for the hardcore fans. The people that go to big dance music parties or raves seem to like their hallucinogens more than any other drug. Where did this start though? This type of music is still relatively new in the grand scheme of things, so that tells me that maybe the music didn’t cause people to start using these drugs, but rather people that enjoyed using these types of drugs flocked to the repetitive music because of the way the drug enhanced it.
Now, I know that most of the hallucinogenic drugs gained their popularity with the rock music of the 1960’s and 1970’s, but when did it switch from rock music to techno or the repetitive music genres? Did it switch because the rock stars of the 1980’s preferred the harder drugs like heroin? In every article and book that I looked in, it seems to me that alcohol is responsible for this change. Once rock stars started with the heavy drinking the hallucinogens were pretty much taken off the table, from what everyone has told me, alcohol and hallucinogens just do not mix well.
So what is a person looking for a good time left to do? Go back to smoking marijuana, and that be it? Nope, it was time to move on to harder drugs and let the hallucinogens stay back with a different crowd. I know lsd and other hallucinogenics were around long before the popularization of repetitive music, so I can not put the blame on the music here, for this type of genre I believe that it is the drug that is responsible for the music. People are always looking for a way to intensify feelings, to go further than they did the last time they took a pill or snorted something.
The way for this to happen was to look at the sense of sound, and use it to further the feeling of an acid trip. The use of repetitive beats, sounds and noises puts the drug user in a state of mind where nothing can bother them, it allows the drug to completely take over, thus intensifying the trip. After taking a look at many different music genres, these three seemed to be the most obvious ones that use drugs and or alcohol either in lyrics or as a way for the artist or listener to escape reality, if only briefly.
Rap music did not become popular because of the crack cocaine problem in the ghetto’s, but one could easily argue that rap music helped crack become a nation wide epidemic because of the glorification in a lot of rap songs. Alcohol, cocaine, and heroin did not create rock n’ roll, sure it may have made it more interesting, but at the same time, it has ruined many artist’s lives that could have gone on to do great things for the music industry.
Not everyone that attends a rave or a techno party is doing acid or ecstasy, but that music genre as a whole would not be in existence would it not have been for these drugs. While I don’t think music alone causes people to ruin their lives with drugs and alcohol, there is definitely a link between music and drug use. Whether it’s the type of drug, or how much of the drug that person prefers doesn’t matter, through all my readings one thing is certain, drugs and music have a past together and will have a future.

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