Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 - Media and its Affects on the Youth

Name: Skyla Ma...
From: Callahan, FL
School: West Nassau High School
Votes: 0 Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 - Media and its Affects on the Youth

Media and its Affects on the Youth

My
favorite movie focuses a lot on drug abuse. In fact, I bet a lot of
people’s favorite movies involve some type of drug usage featured
within the story. Most people can digest media without having been
severely influenced, but many teenagers and young adults can have a
hard time doing the same. When someone with a weak mindset sees their
favorite character or even creator participating in the abuse of
drugs, they may be influenced into thinking they also need to partake
in such a thing in order to stay relevant or “fit in with the cool
kids.” As cliche as that may seem, that really
is
the
sad reality of many high schoolers.

In
my own high school, there are many students who abuse drugs. The
harsh truth is: this isn’t really surprising anymore. This seems to
be normal behavior among youth now. According to the National Center
for Drug Use Statistics (NCDAS), 86% of teenagers know of someone who
uses drugs during school days. As a graduating senior, I can
definitely recall the days of walking by fellow students who would
have drug paraphernalia on their person. While most of the things
they had weren’t necessarily something associated with “hard
drugs,” it was still weird that so many young people even had the
possession of
any
type
of drug stuff at all.

I
can remember the day in government class when my teacher told us the
story about how he found a nicotine patch beside his trash can,
presumably from a student with an awful aim in throwing. The idea of
a teenager being addicted to nicotine is already concerning enough,
but why exactly are young people even getting addicted to drugs in
the first place? How has this happened? I thought about this a lot,
and from what I have heard around my school, and even seen on the
internet — well, it seems to be the media we consume.

The
internet, television, movies, and music tend to push the idea of drug
use. Kids like to copy what they see; if a kid sees their favorite
rapper doing drugs, well, they’re probably going to follow after
that. Kids in America easily fall into the trap of drug addiction
because of the media pushing its ideas of drugs = cool. The problem
is, our schools don’t teach us about the dangers of drug addiction
in a meaningful way. They instead push the idea of death, and that
our only consequence is jail time. When schools fail to give
meaningful messages, and forget to even inform us on rehab, then
people aren’t going to listen. In fact, it pushes most kids to want
to rebelle more and look cool doing it, as presented in the media.

The
last time I was taught about the dangers of drugs, a police officer
came into my class and showed up with a gallon bag of juuls. It was
as if he were gloating about the amount of sticks he had taken. How
in any way is this supposed to teach kids that drugs are bad? My
school had times when they would randomly bring dogs to sniff out
parking lots and class rooms. This didn’t discourage drug usage…
It scared kids. Not only did it scare some, but when some were never
caught, they would simply brag about it. They would go on social
media, brag about how they still had their drugs, and be proud of it.
Or, others would be complaining on social media. Or, others would
warn about it on social media. It never stopped drug usage. It seemed
to encourage it.

The
kids at my school who did drugs usually came from low income
families, or came from unfortunate circumstances. These are the kids
who consume media in hopes that it will help them escape their awful
realities, and when the media encourages the idea that drugs help you
escape, then it also helps kids choose that path. Kids use drugs to
escape their lives instead of seeking advice from others, and
sometimes, I don’t really blame them. While drugs aren’t
something I would ever do myself, I realize that it would make sense
as to why so many kids are fearful of seeking advice. Schools set up
guidance counselors specifically for help, yet how many times do you
see kids all over the country complain about their guidance
counselor? Kids are scared to ask for advice, because they’re
scared they will only be asked about their grades, and that they will
be pressured into speaking with their parents. This all leads back to
drug abuse and addiction.

Students
who suffer from drug addiction usually see their grades tank, their
relationships fail, and may even become someone they never wanted to
be. This is all obvious information, something I won’t dive into
considering it seems all too much like a broken record to repeat such
things that we hear everyday in Truth commercials and ads. What I
am
trying
to get to, however, is how we could help students in schools who
abuse drugs.

The
first step is to educate students better and more effectively.
Instead of scaring students, we need to actually educate them and
make them understand the side effects of drug addiction. We need to
inform them that death and prison are not the only two options; rehab
and therapy exist too. We also need to help students as far as being
more involved in their personal lives. By this, I mean we need actual
therapists or counselors on campus. We need someone who will actually
listen and help kids who are going through tough times and
considering drugs as a choice. Lastely, we need to stop glorifying
drug use in the media.

When
I mentioned my favorite movie, I said that it showed a lot of drug
abuse. However, this movie is self aware. Using satire, the movie is
able to be
against
drugs
and not promote it. Most don’t do that. We need the media to stop
glorifying drugs and instead remind kids that drugs are, in fact,
harmful. If the media keeps acting as if they’re okay, then society
will never move forward. Kids are easily influenced, especially if
their favorite character that they look up to for guidance snorts
coke.


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Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 - Media and its Affects on the Youth
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