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The Role Of Music Industry In Encouraging The Use Of Drugs

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Over 20 million Americans have an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Over 90% of those with an addiction began drinking, smoking, or using illegal drugs before the age of 18. Rates of illegal drug and alcohol use is highest among those aged 18 to 25. Drug and substance abuse in young adults in America is very common, so why is the topic so neglected?

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This past year, more than 72, 000 Americans died of overdoses in 2017. That is nearly 200 deaths a day, people dying from a mental illness that affects so many yet is rarely talked about. Instead of being acknowledged, this widespread problem is being praised. The music industry almost endorses the use of drugs, rarely ever is there a hip-hop, rock’n’roll, or country song that doesn’t mention drinking or smoking. The problem lies within the culture of music and the wider entertainment industry, which encourages and normalizes excessive substance use. While drug use may not affect some people, it can become a harmful, debilitating habit for others. Those with mental health issues are more susceptible to substance abuse, and the interactions between substance abuse, mental and physical health, and the profit-driven music industry must be looked at more closely and there should be more open discussions rather than rejecting the idea.

Just this past month, Malcolm McCormick, a popular rapper known as Mac Miller, passed away from an overdose. Miller was known for keeping it real with his fans, always being open about his struggle with depression and addiction. His first mention of drug use in to the public was back in August 2015, where he told Billboard, “That was the plan with Faces: ‘Grand Finale’ was supposed to be the last song I made on earth. I don’t feel that way as much anymore. I’m not doing as many drugs. It just eats at your mind, doing drugs every single day. It’s rough on your body. ” As his fame grew, some argued Miller worked harder at living a healthier lifestyle, some say fame is what ruined him. Miller even said in an interview with Fader that he’d “rather be the corny white rapper than the drugged out mess who can’t even get out of his house, ” yet he admitted to getting super fucked up constantly. It all started, he explained in the documentary Stopped Making Excuses, by him just sitting inside all day. “I got bored, then I was like ‘well, I could just be high and have a whole adventure in this room. ’” And the fame wasn’t helping – having a bunch of money “fucks you up” according to Miller because if you try a drug and like it, you can buy a lot of it – and this is what Miller did, “he went through about everything. ”

There was a time in his life where he was in the dark, doing an abundance of cocaine, lean, weed, and other drugs. Despite being full of drugs, at this time he also released one of his best albums, a mixtape called Faces. Miller rapped as if there was no tomorrow, being too honest about losing himself and abusing substances. He poured his heart and soul into this album, but Mac needed rehab not downloads. Miller was telling fans he was self-destructing, yet we all praised him for his drug use, some arguing that his best music was made when he was fully intoxicated. Throughout his relationship with Ariana Grande, Miller tried to be sober. They began dating in 2016 and just broke up in May 2018. After their breakup, Miller had gone off the deep end once again. He totaled his Mercedes truck, wrapping it around a utility pole after driving intoxicated with a BAC level of nearly twice the legal limit. Many blamed Grande for Miller’s mistakes and overdose. Grande dealt with a lot of hate through social media, one specific post that she responded to said, “Mac Miller totalling his G wagon and getting a DUI after Ariana Grande dumped him for another dude after he poured his heart out on a ten song album to her called the divine feminine is just the most heartbreaking thing happening in Hollywood. ” Grande struck back, replying on Twitter, “I am not a babysitter or a mother and no woman should feel that they need to be. I have cared for him and tried to support his sobriety and prayed for his balance for years (and always will of course) but shaming/blaming women for a man’s inability to keep his shit together is a very major problem. Let’s please stop doing that. ” The worst part about other blaming her for Miller’s death is that she is probably blaming herself as well, but she didn’t cause his drug overdose, she left him because of his addiction. It wasn’t her responsibility to save Miller, and his overdose is not her problem now. The entertainment industry needs to find a way to support victims of drug abuse that are clearly calling out for help.

The other side of Twitter used Miller’s death as a way to raise awareness to drug abuse. One popular tweet said: Many mourned the death of Miller while asking others to check in on their friends and be more conscious of the mental health of others. It is sad that a young influencer had to die for everyone to realize drug abuse is a real problem. We really need to start having more open conversations about the music industry and its link to drug abuse, too many young people are dying because of it and it is destroying families and relationships. Addiction is a difficult, complicated disease, a mental illness that is nobody’s fault but the user’s themselves.

15 July 2020

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