What are the impacts of media on illicit drug use?

by Ok Hiltz, June 2014

900 words

3 pages


It is a well-known fact that communication media function as “mind tools”, but not just as the source of factual information (McDougal, 2011). Many researchers, such as Walter On and J.J. Gibson claim that such is the function of drugs alongside with the media. So, media, as well as drugs affect the efficiency of perceptual and thought processes (McDougall, 2011).

In this work the issue of misusing and overusing of media in favour of misusing and overusing drugs is going to be discussed. McDougall in his book Drugs and Media attempts to disclose the causative-consecutive connection of media and drugs. He explains the nature of media affecting the brains of people, giving examples of movie stars and cartoon heroes, which are performed as the friends. So, with the time, all those characters are fitted into the value system of the person.

McDougall goes on with the discussion of the tele-visual effects, which have gained the status of medium-as-drug itself. He reviews the 1951 Eleanor McCoby study of the TV affects, who pointed out such TV-caused psychological outcomes as “addiction to excitement”, “vicarious habit formation”, “frustration tolerance”, etc. All these new-formations are still present in the issue of media influence on people, although people have become much aware of the problem. The author proposes to assess the problem of media affecting the minds of people, regarding modern media as a kind of drug use and drug use as modern media.

The article Illicit drugs and the media: Models of media effects for use in drug policy research, written by a bunch of authors and published in Drug and Alcohol Review is aimed to investigate the media functions and to draw the parallels between the media and drug research.

The study, described in the article, arrived at the conclusions that media is able to influence the audience in the following ways: defining public interest, framing issues by selection and salience, shaping the society’s attitude towards risks, and feeding into decision making (Lancaster et al, 2011). Each of the named ways is functional in shaping the attitude towards drug use. For instance, when the problem of heroine abuse has been covered in media, general interest towards this substance escalated significantly. For example, media-as-framing function tells us how to think about a particular issue. Thus, when drug abuse is described by official sources (law enforcement, government or political figures speaking) as negative it is likely to be perceived so by the audience. Same with the movies, where “cool guys” are drug-addicts and they live “a bright life” , which form the positive attitude towards illicit drugs, at least drives the audiences’ attention to the issue.

Tara Parker-Pole in her New York Times article Today’s Teens Better Behaved Than Their Parents states that modern children grow more conservative, which can be observed due to the statistics: when their parents were at school 60 percent of them tried marijuana and 9 per cent of them smoked it regularly, whereas modern statistics says that about 45 percent of …

Download will start in 20 seconds


Note that all papers are meant for inspiration and reference purposes only! Do not copy papers in full or in part. Papers are provided by other students, who hold the copyright for the content of those papers. All papers were submitted to TurnItIn and will show up as plagiarism if you try to submit any part of them as your own work. Assignment Lab can not guarantee the quality of the user generated content such as sample papers above.