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Running head: THE IMPACT OF MEDIA ON ILLICIT DRUG USE

The Impact of Media on Illicit Drug Use An Assignment Submitted by Name of Student Name of Establishment Class XXXX, Section XXXX, Fall 2011

THE IMPACT OF MEDIA ON ILLICIT DRUG USE The Impact of Media on Illicit Drug Use` 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 newformations 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

THE IMPACT OF MEDIA ON ILLICIT DRUG USE 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 societys 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 Todays 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 students tried marijuana and about 6 percent smoke it regularly now. Moreover, Tara presents the information that adolescent use of tobacco, illegal drugs and alcohol lowered significantly in last 30 years. Such changes can be explained by severe tobacco and drugs politics, which limits advertising and attitude patterns in mass media.

THE IMPACT OF MEDIA ON ILLICIT DRUG USE The study, conducted by the Drug Policy Modelling Program at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of NSW took a challenge to measure the media issues on the attitudes of young people on illicit drugs. The chief investigator of the study Dr. Caitlin Hughes reported that it was commonly assumed that the news media are able to incite drugs use. But the results of the investigation showed that practically all the media depictions of drug use are able to reduce interest in drugs, at least on a short term. But the problem of under investigation arose, as 66.4% and 86.5% of respondents rarely contact media in form of TV news, online or radio news, especially printed news. As it can be seen from the studies review the issue of media affecting illicit drug use is currently being under strong consideration. The researches in the field showed the interdependence of drug usage portraying in the news programs and feature programs and the shaping of audience attitudes towards illicit drug use. It is generally known that media regulates many spheres of the life of any modern society and cause both positive and negative effects. While being itself a drug in case of overuse, it also formulates the general vision of illicit drug usage in the minds of the people, especially young. One can easily make a conclusion that $ 25 billion per year would not be spent on something that does not work. So, we assume that it works such amount of money is spent on tobacco and alcohol advertising. Besides, such medium as Internet with its social networks is an appropriate place to advertise even illicit drugs as this area of mass communication is not controlled quite properly. Online purchasing creates the environment of relevantly boundless drug market.

THE IMPACT OF MEDIA ON ILLICIT DRUG USE The challenges, which our culture faces, are complicated and deep-rooted and the task of mass communication channels to positively solve the problems in favor of a healthy and strong society.

THE IMPACT OF MEDIA ON ILLICIT DRUG USE References Lancaster, k., Hughes, C.E., Spicer, B., Matthew-Simmons, F & Dillan, P. (2011). Illicit drugs and the media: models of media effects for use in drug policy research. Drug and Alcohol Review, 30, 397-402. MacDougall, R. (2012). Drugs and media. London: Continuum. News media turns young people off illicit drugs. (2010). Media reporting on illicit drugs in Australia: trends and impacts on youth attitudes to illicit drug use. Drug Policy Modelling Program, September 2010. Retrieved from http://www.dpmp.unsw.edu.au. Parker-Pope, Tara. (2012, February, 2). Todays Teens Better Behaved than Their Parents. The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/02/the-kids-are-more-than-all-right/