Paper Example on Role of Media in the Issue of Substance Abuse in Children and Adolescents

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Sewanee University of the South
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The policy statement by the American Academic of Pediatrics talks about substance abuse in children and adolescents, and the role media has to play in the issue. The policy identifies that many children and adolescents engage in the use of tobacco and alcohol, which pose a significant threat to their overall well-being (Strasburger, 2010). The statement also gives statistics of the amount of money spent on advertisements for alcohol and tobacco in America each year. According to the academy, more than twenty-five billion dollars each year goes to ads made for the two substances. The policy goes ahead to state that children and adolescents are exposed to PG-13 and R-rated movies at an early age, and this may be the reason why there is a high prevalence of tobacco and alcohol use among children and adolescents. The American Academy of Pediatrics, therefore, recommends for the ban on all advertising of tobacco and a limit to the level of alcohol advertisement (Strasburger, 2010). It believes that once this happens, there will be a significant reduction in the number of alcohol, tobacco, prescription, and illegal drug use among children and adolescents. It also recommends for the ban of all PG-13 and R-rated movies on children and an incorporation of the issue of media and advertising in efforts and programs towards the prevention of drug abuse. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends for the integration and implementation of education programs on media in the classroom.

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The paper will, therefore, analyze the issue of drug abuse in children and adolescence and the role that media plays in the drug addiction these kids are suffering from. The work compares and contrasts scenes from the movie series breaking bad on the abuse of drugs to what exactly happens in reality. What is known about drugs and addiction is often different from what is depicted in the media. Many movies will predict it as a fantastic habit that brings happiness and the feelings of pleasure for its users. Contrary to this, many of the drugs abuse including crystal meth that is dominant in breaking bad have adverse effects on the user. The initial effect may be pleasant, but then the individual becomes dependent on the substance and cannot do without it. Crystal meth is bad to the extent that it is difficult to treat and can lead to death.

The paper also looks at a comparison of the use of drugs as portrayed in the media and how the American academy of pediatrics explains it. It looks at the similarities and differences between the two aspects. The paper goes further to address how the portrayal of drug use in the media affects the overall outlook at drug use especially among children and adolescents. It also shows the accuracy of drugs use in the media and if the press should give the accurate representation of what drug abuse does.

Breaking Bad is a television series characterized by numerous scenes of alcohol and crystal meth use. Multiple scenes in the movie show the main characters make this drug and sell them to young people who use of supply the drug.

These scenes are often pleasant because they show that those using the substance are having the time of their life and the substance is making them feel better. There are some cases within the film where such drugs act as boosters of confidence and a way to get easy and quick cash. However, it is a contrast to what happens to an individual who uses crystal meth. The drug is highly addictive, and once one is exposed to it, it is always guaranteed that the person will get addicted. The dependency on crystal meth cripples the individual to the point where he or she lacks the ability to survive or lead a normal life without using it. In many instances, those addicted to crystal meth will do all they can to access their daily dose even if it means stealing money from their parents to buy it. Withdrawal symptoms often attack them in case they miss even a day of use. The symptoms are often severe to the point that one could die if he or she does not access the drug as soon as it is necessary. Many young people are often influenced by peers into the abuse of crystal meth because their friends tell them about the joys of taking the drug. They need to fit in with their peers and try the amazing substance their friends are using, and they eventually fall into using the substance with the lack of knowledge on how to get out of it. They will struggle with the addiction going in and out of rehab without any hope of recovery.

Crystal meth also is known as crystal methamphetamine and is one form of the methamphetamine drug. It is a white crystalline substance that people induce through snorting, injecting using a needle or smoking. Other individuals will take the drug orally, and in all these ways of induction, they develop the desire to continue using the drug. The drug often develops a false feeling of well-being and happiness. The person gets a strong sense of confidence, energy, and hyper-activeness. The drug also results in the loss of appetite (Buxton, & Dove, 2008). Its effects will last for up to six or eight hours, and in some instances, the results can go up to twenty-four hours. The initial use of crystal meth will be characterized by pleasure but as soon as one starts using it his or her life begins to change for the worse. It is an illegal drug in the same class as other hard drugs including cocaine. Some nicknames for the drug include chalk, crank, speed or meth.

It is a dangerous chemical just like other drugs which gives a pleasant feeling during its initial intake but starts destroying the body gradually. The drug is associated with serious health conditions including brain damage, psychotic behavior, heart damage, aggression, and memory loss. It is highly addictive and will destroy the bodys resources so that the individual will be dependent on the drug and the desire can only be satisfied with more use of crystal meth (Buxton, & Dove, 2008). The drug is highly concentrated and those who use it report of getting addicted just after the first use. Some even lose their families, friends, jobs and end up becoming homeless. It is one of the hardest drugs to treat once addicted to, and many of the addicts die under meth.

The danger is it is not the only crystal meth that children and adolescents get exposed to in the United States. Other legal and illegal substances are present in the American societies that have adverse effects of those who use them. These substances will be highly dangerous if they find their way to children and adolescents. One is tobacco, which contains nicotine as the addictive substance and is used by over forty million people in America (Bachman et al., 2013). Another substance is alcohol, which is currently abuse by more than eighteen million Americas. There are states in America that have legalized the use of marijuana, which has to lead to a significant increase in those who use the substance. It is highly addictive, but more than forty million people continue to abuse the drug (Bachman et al., 2013). Painkillers are available in many drug stores and houses in America. People have easy access to them. They include drugs like codeine, Oxycontin, and Vicodin, which, are common, and prescribe to relieve pain. Addiction to painkillers may develop from the simple use of the painkillers. Most of those addicted will not notice until they stop using the painkiller. Cocaine is another drug that Americans are addicted to (Perrone, Helgesen, & Fischer, 2013). Despite a report that the numbers of those who use cocaine are dropping the decrease is still gradual. Many adolescents use crack cocaine, which is cheaper than regular cocaine and more addictive and destructive.

Various forms of media that give false images of drugs and substance. It is often a portrayal that drugs are what people need when in reality their aim is just business. Those who get caught in their trap suffer adverse consequences by engaging in using the substances and drugs. One form of media is advertisements which have an immense amount of influence on its audience especially children and adolescents (Strasburger et al., 2013). The ads will use attractive figures of authority including celebrities, beautiful models, or pleasant music to ensure they get the attention of any individual who has access to media. Advertising is especially prominent in alcohol and cigarettes, which portrays smoking and drinking alcohol as activities that are normal. Evidence shows that up to thirty percent of teenagers will end up into alcohol and cigarette smoking due to advertisements. In the case of cigarettes, up to fifteen billion dollars go to their adverts each year. It is much higher than the funds allocated to centers that advocate for health including the national institute of health. Advertisements in magazines and on television attract teenagers into smoking. Evidence indicates that more than fifty percent of the increase in the use of cigarettes is as a result of advertisements.

The portrayal of cigarettes is no different in the entertainment media. Movies will have many smoking scenes. The practice has taken root in Hollywood because up to ninety percent of the content created in Hollywood has several smoking scenes. Many Hollywood stars are influential individuals in society. Therefore the behavior they engage in will be readily accepted by the public especially teenagers who make the highest number of the lovers of Hollywood (Strasburger et al., 2013). Music is also similar with many celebrities in the music industry and their videos having smoking content. They portray it as something fun to do. AAP brings out the truth about the use of cigarettes. It is one of the leading causes of death in the United states. They start smoking as early as thirteen years into the rest of their adulthood. Smoking causes various forms of cancer and thus the many years these individuals smoke the higher the rates of cancer-related cases as a result of smoking.

Alcohol in the media is no different. Advertisements put alcohol on a pedestal. More than six billion dollars goes to advertising of the various alcohol brands in the United States. A higher percentage of the advertisements go to beer, and they are often in a form that is attractive to children and adolescents. The adverts have adopted an interesting way of blinding teenagers with young people enjoying their lives and while they take alcohol (Strasburger et al., 2013). The teenagers will want this type of life, and the only thing they associate it with is the use of alcohol. Despite having more advertising restrictions than cigarettes, the alcoholic adverts often appear when children and adolescents are present to see them. They get access to between one thousand and two thousand-alcohol advertisements every year. Young chi...

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