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The Holidays can be a stressful time for all involved from spending too much time socializing to rushing around trying to fit everything in, the busyness and stress can get to the best of us. There are ways you can de-stress naturally during the holiday season to make sure your body and mind stay healthy.
Using just one or two of these tips can help you reduce your stress levels over the holidays.
When the FDA banned flavored cigarettes in 2009, they did so because these candy-flavored drugs provided a special appeal to children, who could become addicted after trying them. But candy-like flavors such as chocolate, cherry, and strawberry aren’t just a danger in the tobacco industry. In fact, drugs hidden or cooked into candies are on the rise – and it’s no coincidence that this is happening when teen drug use has been on a slow decline since the mid to late nineties.
First, candy-like drugs lower the perception of risk. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, teen drug use goes up when the perception of risk associated with those drugs goes down. We can see this today with rising rates of marijuana use among teens, as marijuana has been legalized in Colorado and Washington and the medical marijuana debate has taken hold in a number of other states.
When a drug comes in candy form – for example, the marijuana which is cooked into hard candies, sometimes even packaged with “Stoney Rancher” wrappers as an attempt at humor or thumbing one’s nose to authority – it’s difficult to believe that it can have adverse effects. Drugs may also come in a form like powdered candy (similar to Pixie Sticks), which are easy to ingest and can deliver a strong hit without users necessarily being aware of how much they’ve taken.
Second, candy-like drugs arouse less suspicion from authority figures. It’s not uncommon to watch a teen or a child eat a candy bar or suck on a lollipop, and these innocuous, child-like activities can pass undetected. Candy-like drugs can be carried and used in plain sight. In fact, this isn’t the only way that drugs can use snack foods as disguises: users may hide drugs inside of soda bottles, and even smugglers have shipped drugs into the country stuffed into candy wrappers.
While it may be easy to hide the individual moments of drug use when drugs come camouflaged in candy, the effects are more difficult to conceal. But this, in turn, can drive users to find more and better ways of hiding their drugs and drug use from observers, and when combined with the psychological reward of candy and sugary treats, this can intensify the addiction.
Third, and most perniciously, candy-like drugs can be given to others without their awareness or consent. While the stories of drugged or altered Halloween candy that circulate every year are largely urban legends, exposure to illicit drugs at parties and in peer-pressure situations are sadly not. Drugs baked into brownies and served at a party can dose an entire unsuspecting crowd, and candy handed off to a friend in a casual encounter can introduce them to drugs without their awareness. Predatory peers can use this to hook children no matter their stance on experimenting with drugs.
Candy-flavored drugs have a single purpose: to make drug use more appealing. Fighting against drug use and abuse requires awareness of the dangers and support for those facing them, whether that means people in an environment where drugs are being pushed or people navigating their own recovery from addiction.
When was the last time you really listened to the words in your favorite pop songs? There are more references to drugs and alcohol than you probably realize.
Drugs were once a taboo topic, only spoken of behind closed doors and in dark basements. Of course, drug references in music are nothing new, but they were once reserved for less mainstream music listened to by a select audience. Today though, it’s commonplace to hear nonchalant drug references in some of today’s hottest pop songs.
While alcohol is the most commonly referenced substance in music today, references to 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA – commonly called molly or ecstasy – are on the rise.
For example, Miley Cyrus’s song “We Can’t Stop” created controversy when she used the line “dancing with molly.” Rapper Rick Ross lost his contract with Reebok after rapping about putting “molly all in her champagne,” an allusion to date rape. Madonna’s latest album released in 2012 is titled MDNA, a blatant reference to the drug, and she has also asked concert goers, “How many people in the crowd have seen molly?”
Marijuana references are also common in pop music. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that marijuana use was down in the mid-2000s but has been on the rise since about 2010.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins and Boston University School of Public Health recently conducted a study that involved examining 720 chart-topping songs from 2009 to 2011. Nearly 25 percent of songs in all music categories mentioned alcohol.
Another study looked into 279 chart-topping songs from 2005 and uncovered that 33 percent of them portrayed substance abuse. While drugs were only referenced in 9 percent of pop songs, 77 percent of rap songs featured drug references. The reasons behind the drug use in the songs included peer pressure, sex, partying, violence and/or humor.
Drugs are nearly always shown in a positive light when referenced in music. The downsides or risks – including addiction, violence and being arrested – are hardly ever portrayed. Only 4 percent of the chart-topping songs from 2005 contained anti-use messages, and less than one in three songs portrayed negative consequences of substance abuse.
It’s undeniable that music has power to influence its listeners. With American teens listening to music for an average of 2 1/2 hours every day, they hear approximately 84 explicit drug references daily, depending on the style of music they listen to. All those drug and alcohol references serve as a major source of promotion for substance abuse.
The correlation between increased drug references in pop music and actual drug use among under-aged users is clear. From 2005 to 2009, there was a 123 percent increase in ER visits due to ecstasy use. In addition, at least 4,700 alcohol-related deaths in minors occur each year.
It’s troubling to see drug and alcohol use flaunted so openly by pop artists whom young people admire and look to as an example. It can be difficult to discern between fictitious situations portrayed in songs and actual suggestions to go out and do drugs.
Are musicians taking their right to free speech too far? What is the answer to this dilemma? Censorship isn’t it. It comes down to individual artists’ decisions of what to put in their music. Then it’s up to the listeners to decide whether to play that particular song or change the radio station.
If you have been influenced to use drugs or alcohol – by pop music or any other source – you can get the help you need to start fresh. Call us today to learn more.