White Paper- Misterfries19

My Proposal

In my research paper, I intend to dive into the relationship between adolescent drug use and how the music teenagers listen to can effect their perceptions of different drugs, in an effort to help better predict future drug tendencies in our youth and stop them at the source. Studies show that popular music in America over the past 50 years has included more and more references to drug and alcohol abuse over time. Over the same course of time, the feelings adolescents have about different drugs have changed significantly. Other studies can show a possible similarity in the relationship between why people choose to use drugs and listen to music, as opposed to trying to find out which causes which, music or drugs. Through the careful analysis of mainstream musical lyrics and studies conducted to show drug preferences and tendencies among adolescents over time, medical professionals and parents everywhere can gain a better understanding of the adolescent mind, as well as predict future usage trends and implement strategies to stop the trend from growing.

  1. “Exposure To Cannabis in Popular Music and Cannabis use among Adolescents”
    • Essential Content of Article: In an effort to identify a possible relationship between Cannabis use in teenagers and Cannabis references in the music these teenagers listen to, The Society for the Study of Addiction conducted surveys at three different urban high schools. The Survey was designed to see how often 9th grade students in these environments smoke weed, if ever, while also asking how often the students listen to music containing references to weed. The results showed that 12% of the students were cannabis users, while 32% had used it before. The students were exposed to 27 Cannabis references a day, which is much more frequent than the average. The study showed that while it does not cause cannabis use, students who are more prone to hearing these references have a higher chance of exposure to cannabis at a young age.
    • What it proves: By giving me statistics on early marijuana use in teenagers who listen to music containing marijuana references, I can make claims about the music’s effect and draw links to later stages of drug use.
  2. “What has America Been Singing About?”
    • Essential Content of the Article: Sage Journals dipped into the biggest billboard songs from the past 50 years (1960-2010), examining the songs’ lyrics to see what most artists were singing about. In the early years (60’s), songs were mostly about love and intimate relationships. But, as years progressed, songs tended to be written more about the sexual side of relationships, and eventually more so about other personal problems, such as drug and alcohol abuse. By the 2000’s, the frequency of drugs, sex and alcohol references in America’s popular music had reached it’s highest point.
    • What it proves: This article can be utilized to show that there is a growing interest in music about certain vices, such as drugs and alcohol. The article can also be used to understand how these changes can show differences between people of different generations.
  3. “Key Findings on Adolescent Drug Use”
    • Essential Content of the Article: The University of Michigan published this in-depth study about adolescent drug use between 1975-2017, including statistics showing a drug’s availability, perceived risk, disapproval ratings, and other factors among the opinions of adolescents. The study breaks down each drug separately, explaining their specific trends as time passed from 1975 to 2017.
    • What it proves: This article will be absolutely key in my research. This study doesn’t just show statistics about how much a certain drug is used. It actually finds a way to show the ever-changing opinions and perspective on different drugs from the eyes of the adolescent experimenter. This article can help me get inside the minds of those being studied so that I can better understand why these trends occur and make claims about possible drug trends in the future. Coupling this article with statistics from the article on what pop music is being written about, I can cross reference and make conclusions about my topic.
  4. “Is Cannabis a Gateway Drug?”
    • Essential Content of the Article: Wayne D. Hall and Michael Lynskey examine three popular notions regarding Marijuana and its moniker as a “gateway” drug. The three notions examined claim that Marijuana use comes before the use of other drugs, and the younger and more frequently one is exposed to it, the more likely they are to seek other drugs. By examining different explanations as to why these claims even exist, myths about the start of usage can possibly be debunked one day. Findings in the article indicated that sometimes a progression of illicit drug use from Marijuana can be more complicated to comprehend than it seems, with biological factors coming into play, as well as changing social norms among the people being exposed to the drugs.
    • What this proves: This article can help show a possible connection between music referencing marijuana leading to marijuana use, and early marijuana use leading to other illicit drug use. There are many factors at play, but social norms playing a factor in one’s inclination to try a drug can possibly be effected by the music that is socially accepted.
  5. Relationships Between Adolescent Psychiatric Diagnoses, Musical Preferences, and Drug Preferences
    • Essential Content of the Article: Bridget Doak of Temple University attempts to draw comparisons between the reasons for using a particular drug, and the reasons for listening to a particular kind of music, while also seeing if these preferences correlate with Psychiatric diagnoses. After surveying 58 students, results showed that among students with diagnoses, there is a strong relationship between why they listen to a particular kind of music and why they do a specific kind of drug. The results show that they are two different avenues used to achieve the same feelings.
    • What it Proves: This article can help us to better understand the relationship between drug use and musical tendencies based on their perceived goals of usage. It also shows that there is a correlation between certain diagnoses and what kind of music or drug is used to “deal” with these diagnoses. While the article will not so much provide me with proof of one being a cause of the other, it can show me how both drugs and music play a part in the everyday life of those who already use it.









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