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The Elevation Of Drug Use Essay

1276 words - 6 pages

It’s been nearly 20 years since my high school graduation. Just as time has passed, technology has advanced, and so has the elevation of drug use. As I reflect back in regards to the drug taking behavior I can recall that there was a stereotype of those who were labeled drug users. Several factors contributed to using drugs, but the one factor that was and still prevalent was peer pressure. This is a time in the adolescent’s life when peer approval is an essential component for the direction of his or her behavior. (Levinthal, 2014). To participate in a risky behavior and engage in activities that purposely revolved around alcohol consumption and smoking marijuana was a decision made by many. Drug use was not the only way to become cool, but it was the desired ticket that allowed many who were shunned and felt lost to gain the acceptance from their peers.
The occurrence of illicit drug use increased through the decade of the 1990s. (Levinthal, 2014). In 1995, the drug of choice that was so eagerly experimented with was marijuana. According to National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) (http://www.ncjrs.gov/htm/chapter2.htm), “an estimated 9.8 million Americans were smokers of marijuana making it the most commonly used illicit drug.” The rate of marijuana use among high school seniors between 1994-1995 increased from 6 percent to 8.2 percent. Also noted on the NCJRS (http://www.ncjrs.gov/htm/chapter2.htm) is the fact that cannabis is frequently cultivated in remote areas such as Tennessee, Kentucky, Hawaii, California, and New York. I was not only among this generation, but lived in a rural area of East Tennessee. “Between 1993 and 2000 Tennessee ranked among the top five states in the nation based on the number of cannabis plants eradicated.” (http://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs1/1017/marijuan.htm)
Cultural influences even existed in the 1920s. Many well-known jazz musicians were engaging in the recreational use of marijuana and producing “Reefer Songs”. Tea Pads, which were marijuana clubs, became popular in the major cities. The social phenomenon that marijuana initiated, allowed patrons to smoke freely and accepted by authorities. At the time there was no evidence that proved this drug taking behavior was disrupting to the community, therefore marijuana was legal and not a threat to the societies integrity. (Levinthal, 2014). The cultural influences of the 1990s did not stray far from decade’s prior. The music and entertainment industry were, at best, ambivalent on the question of drug-taking behavior, particularly with respect to marijuana smoking. (Levinthal, 2014). The music industry released a myriad of songs focused around the use of marijuana. Hip Hop artist Snoop Dogg was nominated for a Grammy in 1995 for his hit single “Gin and Juice”. In the lyrics of the song marijuana use was glorified and expressed a message that drug taking was cool and lead to a life filled with money, sex, and parties. Music...

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