Musical Influences: Substance Abuse

Does music change how people feel about substance abuse?

How much time do people spend listening to music?

According to New York Times, “Teenagers listen to an average of nearly 2.5 hours of music per day. That means kids are receiving about 35 references to substance abuse for every hour of music they listen to, the authors determined.” Even though rap music is the most common genre to find references about substance abuse, there are also other genres that make the same references. Everyday people are listening to almost 3 hours of music with lyrics constantly telling them things. After you hear something drilling ideas into your head, you start to believe them. I know for a fact that I listen to more than that 2.5 hours of music a day, granted my music doesn't glorify substance abuse. The point is that teenagers are starting to get the idea that substance abuse is how to be "cool".

Do certain genres make substance abuse seem okay?

According to The Washington Times, "However, the most frequent references to this substance abuse were found in rap lyrics, the study found." Even though the most frequent references were in rap music, more genres are beginning to do the same thing. References about substance abuse were found in 77% of top chart songs. 24% of songs had lyrics about alcohol. Almost all of the songs are talking about using drugs or alcohol and teenagers listen to that. They start to think that it is the norm and that if all the celebs are doing it, that they should be doing it as well.

How do substance abuse references affect a child's life?

According to New York Times, “Studies have long shown that media messages have a pronounced impact on childhood risk behaviors.” Children grow up listening to songs on the radio that make references to substance abuse. It happens so often that people don't even notice anymore. The way in which they refer to the substances makes them seem like everyone is doing it and that it is the way that people have fun. Which may be true but it isn't the only way that people can have fun.

Works Cited

"Country Music Lyrics High on Substance Abuse." Washington Times. The Washington Times, 07 Feb. 2008. Web. 06 Feb. 2014.

Parker-Pope, Tara. "Under the Influence Of…Music?" Well Under the Influence OfMusic Comments. New York Times, 5 Feb. 2008. Web. 02 Feb. 2014.

Scott, Jeanita W. Richardson & Kim A. "Rap Music and Its Violent Progeny: America's Culture of Violence..." Journal of Negro Education (Summer 2002): 175-192. Web. 3 Feb. 2014. <>.