Almost every parent of a teen worries about their child getting involved with drugs or alcohol use. Teens have always been the population most prone to peer pressure that may lead to experimentation, and teens are also the people that may be most at risk for some of the dangers associated with drug or alcohol use. Although teens have always been a high risk population when it comes to using and abusing alcohol, the current state of pop culture and the way drug use is portrayed in the media may be creating a culture for teens that very much revolves around the use of drugs and alcohol.
Drug Culture and Popular Music
One way that drug culture has become somewhat embedded into teen culture is that the use of drugs and alcohol is so frequently referenced and celebrated in many songs by artists who have a popular following among teens. Many songs in a the genres that teens often enjoy: pop music, hip hop, and dance music, make reference to drug use. Artists as mainstream and popular as Miley Cyrus have been known to reference drugs like Molly, which is a dangerous form of the drug ecstasy. Many other songs glamorize things like binge drinking or smoking marijuana.
Celebrities and Drug Use
On top of the fact that many popular songs are about drug use, many celebrities who teenagers look up to publicly use drugs and garner media attention because of it. Celebrities who many teens have looked up to since they were young, such as Justin Bieber, often get quite a bit of media exposure when they are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs in public. Many parents, teachers, and teen counselors worry that this sends a dangerous message to teens who may subconsciously be getting the message from the way that the media treats the use of drugs and alcohol by celebrities that there is something cool or glamorous about using drugs.
What Can Be Done To Protect Teens?
Now, perhaps more than ever, parents are urged to talk to their teens about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. The reality is that parents may not have much of a say in the way that the media portrays drug and alcohol abuse. While many parents may remain in a state of denial when it comes to their child and drug use, studies have shown that teens whose parents fully educate them about the dangers of drugs and alcohol and the ways in which they can safely avoid their use may be much less likely to struggle with drug use.
As drug use and, unfortunately, the use of very dangerous drugs like heroin, continues to be on the rise, many state and city governments have adopted preventative measures to reduce the instances of teens becoming exposed to addictive drugs. Many schools have bolstered their drug education programs, and in many communities, law enforcement officers may volunteer their time to work with schools to create programs aimed at fighting the influence of drug culture on teens.
Teens With High Self Esteem Are Less Likely To Use Drugs
Another great way that parents can help their teen stay strong in the midst of a drug fueled culture is to do what they can to ensure that their child has a positive self image. Studies have shown that teens with high self esteem are much less likely to use drugs. There are a number of ways a parent can cultivate self worth in their child. Encouraging them to stick with the things they are passionate about is a great way to dissuade them from using.