Are Celebrities to Blame for America’s Drug Problem?

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently published an extensive survey that looked at how Americans spend their time. A graphic clarified the data and found that on average, Americans spend just over two hours per day watching television or movies, but only 13 minutes per day relaxing or thinking.

Another alarming statistic is related to our country’s expenditures on illegal drugs. Annually, the United States spends $300 billion on illicit substances. When evaluating the reasons behind America’s alarming dependence on drugs, some analysts say celebrities, including the ones commonly seen on TV or in movies, are partially to blame. Keep reading to learn more about what has caused some to draw this conclusion.

Celebrities Gravitate Towards Drugs to Relieve Stress

Heath Ledger, Cory Monteith and Amy Winehouse are just a few of the celebrities that have unfortunately succumbed to drug use over the past few years. It’s already known that some people feel compelled to use drugs to relieve stress. Since celebrities are constantly under scrutiny from everyday people, media and peers, it’s not hard to imagine why some feel tempted to see if drugs could provide much-needed relief from the pressure.

Illegal Substances Become a Way of Life

Unfortunately, just like their other activities of a daily routine, celebrities’ drug usage rarely stays under wraps for very long. Celebrity gossip sites like TMZ often post pictures submitted by paparazzi of famous people partaking in substances while at parties or other public events.

Recently, former-teen-star-turned-bad-girl Miley Cyrus toyed with onlookers by lighting up a joint of marijuana when she went on stage to accept an award at the MTV Europe Music Awards. Later, Cyrus claimed she did it out of humor, likely not thinking about negatively influencing young people who look up to her as a role model.

Between the coverage of celebrity tabloids and people like Cyrus who aren’t afraid to flaunt drug usage, drug usage is portrayed in glamorous ways, which could factor in when people consider trying drugs for the first time. Even when individuals only intend to try a substance once, that single instance might be all it takes to kick off a full-fledged addiction.

Drew Pinksy Tries to Show the Darker Side of Celeb Addiction

A few years ago, Dr. Drew Pinsky, known for co-hosting the long-running radio show, “Loveline,” starred in a reality show on VH1 called “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.” The show aimed to spotlight the struggles celebrities go through when trying to break free of drug abuse and it was the first series of its kind.

Pinsky also published a book in 2009 titled, The Mirror Effect, which looked at the influence of pop culture on today’s Americans. It asserted the theory that many celebrities already suffer from narcissistic personality disorders before they become famous, and that could contribute to their eventual demises.

Although Pinsky’s work in highlighting the issue of celebrity influence is admirable, neither the television show northe book seems to have had enough of an impact on the mainstream media to make a lasting difference.

The first task for people who are enrolled in an Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program is admitting they have problems with substance abuse. It’s not realistic to pinpoint America’s entire illicit substance issue on celebrities alone, but like participants in the 12-step program, it’s time we at least recognize how the prevalence of celebrities in today’s culture could pose problems for America’s $300 billion drug issue.


Guest Post By: Alicia Lawrence

Alicia is a content coordinator for PA’s tech company of the year and blogs in her free time at MarCom Land. Her articles have been published by Ask Miss A, Gen Pink, and Lucky Magazine. Twitter: @Alicia_Lw


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Ali Lawrence is a content specialist for a tech company and blogs about communication in her free time.
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