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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Celebrities Encouraging Drug Use and Alcohol Abuse

Does pop culture contribute to drug use and alcohol abuse in teenagers and college students? Many people are quick to jump in and yell out a resounding “No!” but maybe they should take a step back and try examining the world through the eyes of a young adult, trying to make sense of such a confusing world.

All of our lives we are told that certain things are wrong, but yet those same things that are wrong are consistently glorified in the media.

It is easy to tell a 16 year old or a 20 year old that drinking is wrong because they are underage, but who do they see when they are at the local grocery store? None other than 20 year old Lindsay Lohan’s photograph displayed across the front of every magazine by the checkout. There she is in the picture, looking beautiful, as always and exiting a night club. If Lindsay can do it why can’t a normal teen? She makes it seem so glam. But the confusion for a young one doesn’t end there. TMZ features video clips of Steveo from Jackass proudly displaying his bags of marijuana, even in front of the police – who amazingly laugh it off. Was this all set up? Maybe, but how can you tell. There’s no disclaimer.
Then there’s Paris Hilton and all of her drama – endless car accidents, a D.U.I., driving on a suspended license…but is she in jail yet? See, it doesn’t make any sense to a teenager why Paris can do all of these things but they can’t.
Want another great example? Watch any reality television show on MTV or VH1 and you will probably notice that at least 1/3 of the show is dedicated to watching college students get completely trashed…and they make it look so fun.

So how is a teen able to distinguish real reality versus “famous people reality” (Meaning if you’re rich, no rules apply) versus “television show reality” (Meaning the show pays for everything. New York from “I Love New York” doesn’t really live in a mansion. The college students on The Real World have bar tabs funded by the show – that’s not really their money, etc)?

Basically, it’s almost impossible to explain to a teenager that everything they see on television, read in magazines and watch on television isn’t really real…or maybe it is…But they shouldn’t participate in that kind of behavior, even though it looks like the best time ever.

So what do you do if you find out that your teen does have a drug or alcohol problem? Well, you can do what most parents do and try to stop it yourself. I never really understood this. I remember being young and experimenting with drugs and getting grounded. I think anyone who grew up in the 70’s or early 80’s has more than likely at least drank underage, if not tried other things. I understand why parents want to keep it quiet and try to solve the problem themselves, but does it really work?

A better solution is to seek help for your children. There’s lots of treatment centers that offer rehabilitation programs that will truly make a difference. Cliffside Malibu is one of them. They offer complete rehab programs for drugs and alcohol.

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