UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | September 28, 2022

Media portrays drug abuse to look glamorous

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   Celebrities, who are also many teenager and young adult role models, are starting to develop what is now being considered a new talent: abusing drugs and alcohol.

   While drug and alcohol abuse is no laughing matter, the manner in which media outlets portray this issue is insulting. The media glorifies these issues, making drug use and binge drinking look glamorous.

   Philip Seymour Hoffman obviously had more years of credible talent under his belt than Justin Bieber does; however, their unfortunate situations landed them a respected spot in today’s typically critical media. The “free Bieber” movement is a good example, but many people didn’t recognize much of Hoffman’s work before his death; rather, it was only afterward that some realized what talent he really had.

   There should be more people talking about how wrong these celebrities are rather than sympathizing with them. Students should not look up to celebrities who are in the spotlight because of their bad habits. 

   While some may have had commendable talent before their spiral out of control, it’s important to think about the larger implications at play. The impressions that viral stories about celebrity drug abuse make on young people are destructive. The media trains its victims to worship the celebrities who are the worst possible choices for role models.

   Not only should children and young adults not be so susceptible to idolizing irresponsible celebrities, but, in this digital age, parents should also constantly protect their children from the false positive light that’s often shed on unaccountable celebrities.

   Don’t get me wrong; “Breaking Bad” is one of my favorite TV series. However, once I found out my 16-year-old cousin was watching it, I cringed and had a hard time coping with the show after that. The series takes a look at the dark side of drug distribution and methamphetamine use, but there were often points in the show when I even thought, “I think I’m going to take up chemistry classes and start a meth lab. Walter White makes it look so cool!” 

   Of course, I wasn’t serious about that statement because A: I am not that naïve to throw away my future on such a risk; and B: I am smarter than that because I have dealt with real-life experience on the topic. I know how hard it is to lose a friend because of a drug addiction.

   If Bieber’s DUI mug shot was replaced with John Doe from St. George who drunkenly killed a student near campus, the community would be outraged. It’s time media outlets and impressionable youngsters understand that celebrities don’t deserve to get attention for making bad decisions.