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Teens, Media, & Substance Abuse

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Child' started by Nick W., Oct 24, 2014.

  1. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    It's pretty easy to say that the media glorifies substance abuse these days, particularly marijuana use. It's true, and we've all seen it. However, working the group homes with drug addicted teens, and teens in recovery, I have also learned that you can use media as a tool as well.

    Perhaps there are movies out there that can spur conversations with your teens? Movies that show both sides of substance abuse, and it's ramifications? What about books? Songs & Artists?

    I thought I would create this section for us to share media that can advance the conversation regarding substance abuse, as well as a place where we can come together and offer ideas on topics to talk about, questions to ask, and ways to communicate effectively with our teens.

    Today's teens are creatures of media. They love being entertained by movies, music, and more. So let's post some media that will create healthy dialog with our teens, and maybe some things to talk about post-viewing.

  2. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    One movie that always resonates with the boys I work with is The Basketball Diaries. It's a true story, stars some familiar faces in early roles, and does a great job of showing the extreme lows of addiction. You get the story from different perspectives, and it allows for great ways to start conversations on a multitude of topics. The fact that it's a mostly true story only adds to the level of "realism" that the movie can portray.

    We often talk about scenes that we can relate too, what we think were the lowest moments, how parents must have felt during these times, and the overall effect it has on a persons life & potential.

  3. Davienna

    Davienna Community Champion

    I will be watching that video shortly. I have a cousin that had been addicted to cocaine since he was 12 years old, it was first given to him by a gay drug dealer who wanted to sleep with him. He had absolutely no family support before or after the incident, I really wanted to help him but I was 18 yeas and still dependent on my mother. Recently I heard that he is in jail but I have not seen him for years,yet it still bothers me that such a young life has been ruined from so early.
    Nick W. likes this.
  4. cc1001

    cc1001 Member

    Thank you for sharing this. Both my brother and sister became addicted to alcohol and drugs while very young teenagers. I started drinking heavily at 18. My daughter is a teenager now and we have the talk about drugs and alcohol on a daily basis almost. She explains to me how drugs and alcohol affect the teenagers she goes to school with and it is sad to hear. However it is an ongoing reality in our society.
    Nick W. likes this.
  5. That is really sad that his life has been ruined at such a young age. Someone should have cared more to intervene in his life but it an be a fact that not many people knew but you. I also would like to state that it is also up to the addicted person to want to get help. Some people are very content with what they are doing and no matter how much help you have tried to give it will not help.
    Nick W. likes this.
  6. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    When I hear stories of how young some of this drug use happens it always amazes me. These kids are being exposed at such an early age, it's unbelievable.
  7. Allen24

    Allen24 Active Contributor

    I don't have a movie to offer but I just wanted to say that I think Basketball Diaries is a great film. I wish more people would watch it. It's a story that is not told very often in hollywood.
    Nick W. likes this.
  8. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    Another film that I think does a great job at portraying the violent side of drug abuse, as well as the hardships of withdrawal, is Rush.

  9. Gin0710

    Gin0710 Active Contributor

    I think the best way to keep kids away from drugs is to tell them the awful truth about it. Show them actual footage and documentation of people who have taken drugs too far and show them where it will lead them. Scare tactics seem abusive and a bit much, but it actually works. Thanks to being a sensitive kid growing up and being shown all those pictures of people who smoke or drank, I was never interested in smoking or using drugs. Can't say much about the drinking though because I do drink on occasion, but I don't drink excessively.
  10. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    Except that's just not true. There have been numerous studies conducted that state this. Kids that connect on an emotional level are more likely to put deeper thought into drugs abuse and use. Dramatizations are specifically made to get those connections, where as scare tactics are meant to frighten them into not doing something, which simply does not work.

    “Information or education programs using scare tactics are used less often because research and experience have demonstrated that they are either counterproductive or ineffective, and that students learn better with a low fear
    appeal message and with a credible communicator.” (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1997)

    “By itself, information about the dangers of drugs and alcohol ... has little or noeffect on use.” (Hawkins & Catalano, 1992)

    “School-based tobacco, alcohol and drug education programs as well as public information programs have sought to deter substance use by increasing adolescents‟ awareness of the adverse consequences of using these substances. Although this kind of strategy has proliferated for more than twodecades, results indicate quite clearly that these approaches are not effective.” (Botvin, 1990)

    Overly mild threats won't arouse fearful reactions enough, but overly strong threats may be counterproductive as the receiver defensively avoids attention, denies personal vulnerability or distorts the message. (Ray & Wilkie, 1970)

    “CSAP cautions that messages that may do more harm than good– e.g., "scare tactics" – should be avoided.”

    “Scare tactics" are not as effective as appeals to more positive emotions.”(Center for Substance Abuse Prevention)
  11. The media does influence people into substance abuse. I don't think there are that many movies or tv series' highlighting the dangers of substance abuse. Even media and advertising agencies have had to be arm-twisted to put up health warnings on dangerous products.
  12. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    Yes, wellpostlooper, that's what I said in the first two sentences. However, these two things are not mutually exclusive either. I agree that there are not "many" that highlight, but there are some, and that's the point of this thread.
  13. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    I think documentaries do a much better job of relaying information like this since movies tend to seem fictional due to their nature of being reenactments even if the story were based on real events. Also they tend to exaggerate a lot of parts and most movies have some personal agenda behind them. I'm not saying documentaries are never biased but at least most of them try not to be and information is usually clearly defined and precise in its presentation in the narrative. The best thing about this is that you get to watch a lot of documentaries coming from all sides of the discussion pertaining to one topic. In this case, on the topic of drugs, you could hear about the history of how drug prohibition came about with titles like The Union / Culture High, or you could maybe look into something more comedic like Super High Me, etc.
  14. Giftbearer

    Giftbearer Member

    Teens seem to be influenced for better or worse by people they view as "cool" and are more likely to accept advice from those not too far from their own age. When my son got involved in drugs I asked a younger friend of mine who had had a long-term cocaine addiction and was in recovery at the time talk to him about his experience. He told him what he had learned about getting off the stuff, and what kept him motivated to stay clean, and it did make a noticeable impression on him. Then once my son realized he had the natural ability to help others with their addictions and saw people changing for the better he found it easier to address his own. He's now been clean for about 10 years. One of the TV shows he likes to watch is Intervention. He has been considering going into counseling as a career.

    I found this article by Russell Brand about how he got clean.

    The Hope Share is a new initiative started by using real life people shring their personal stories about addiction to impact teens and young adults.

    Here are some Public Service Announcements developed by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) on the topic of underaged drinking. They have done PSA's on both TV and on radio.

    The Palo Alto Medical Foundation encourages the teaching of critical thinking skills as a means to make teens less susceptible to the negative and/or faulty messages often found on television, movies, commercials and elsewhere.

    Social media can be a positive outlet for teens as well as news and political networks on television that encourage kids to learn about and think more deeply about the world around them. When used effectively these forms of media can help the teenager connect with others in a meaningful way, thus reducing the risk that he or she will become isolated and disenfranchised (human conditions that make young people more vulnerable to negative influences). Teens that feel engaged in life and participate in fulfilling activities are less likely to feel the need to use addictive substances and at an age in which they're learning to become more independent the urge to branch out on their own is less likely to manifest itself in dangerous and risky behaviors.
    Nick W. likes this.
  15. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    Yep, cause teens love sitting through long documentaries....

    I'm not sure what quantifies as "works better" but ANYTHING that works is a tool for good.

    However, that is not what this tread is about. It's specifically about using media to influence teens in a positive way. If you just came here to post you disagree, or to post off topic comments, please create your own thread. Let's try and stick to the topic at hand when it comes to this thread.
  16. LostmySis

    LostmySis Senior Contributor

    I had my young addict friend watch:

    Drugs, Inc
    The Manson Family --- about Charles Mason's gang of drug addicts (yes they were nuts, but I equated that the drugs caused that)
    Fatal Vision - about an real life army capt whose family may have been murdered by hippies druggies.

    Surprisingly, The Manson movie had such a dramatic effect that he went on youtube to look for the real people, then was terrified to go to sleep--he's 19.

    I also made him watch documentaries about prisons. Let them see where they are headed. Ask a warden at a local prison for a tour. They might rather deal with you now, and prevent a criminal from being their problem later.

    Jail, Institutions, and death. That is the only option. So show them what the options are. Ask the morgue to show you drug addicts on the slab. Do whatever it takes to shake them free early.
    Nick W. likes this.
  17. Saji

    Saji Member

    I understand your pain :(. I've also seen many people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. I'm pity myself as I feel that there is nothing that I can do for them. An even bigger problem would be children who are addicted to video games. Studies have proven over and over again that people can get addicted to video games. I believe that there is almost no professional out there for all those video game addicted. We should come up with a way to help all these people! :mad:
  18. Davienna

    Davienna Community Champion

    Absolutely true and all addictions are harmful in their own way. Some may be more dangerous but one may lead to another. We oftentimes don't take this into consideration until things have gone really bad and practically uncontrollable.
  19. DAE89

    DAE89 Member

    Basketball Diaries is a great film, it definitely encouraged me to stay off heroin. Requiem for a Dream is another film that reinforced my decision to stay far away from heroin. However, it's a very intense film, rated R, and is definitely not appropriate for younger children.
    Nick W. likes this.
  20. Kamarsun1

    Kamarsun1 Active Contributor

    It's sad to here that, and its really unfortunate that our youth are getting caught up in the wrong lifestyle. I remember when most of us waited until college to start experimenting with drugs, nowadays middle school students are getting high and some earlier. We as a whole have to find away to save the children.