Realities of Drug Addiction in American Youth Culture
Part II of Part III Series
From the street dealer to the kingpin, How to Make Money Selling Drugs explores the ways in which drugs affect young people. It’s no mystery that people old and young alike have always experimented with drugs.
Successful entertainers and entrepreneurs have been known to use drugs. Steve Jobs credited taking LSD as a fundamental part of his creation of Apple, and Louis Armstrong had been known to smoke pot before and after performances. However, not all young drug users come out on top. In current news, MDMA (the pure substance known in Ecstasy or Molly) has been getting a lot of exposure in the music scene. Just recently (September 2, 2013), the last day of the Electric Zoo festival was cancelled after two young people died due to MDMA and other drug related incidents. This same festival also reported four hospitalizations and one traumatic sexual assault.
A part of the documentary focuses on Mike Walzman a young suburbanite who, after using cocaine, decides he wants to sell it to his friends. He quickly becomes the most popular kid in school, makes a ton of money and can use cocaine whenever he wants. That is, until he wakes up in the hospital from an overdose. Drug use and dealing in the teenage world might look like a glamorous lifestyle at first, but How to Make Money Selling Drugs quickly shows its viewers that although dealing might be lucrative, it is also dangerous.
It’s important that young people learn about the realities of addiction in order to prevent them from becoming addicted to drugs. What better way to educate people in 2013 than through media? T.V. shows like Intervention reveal the heartbreaking and brutal world that addicts and their families face every day. Rather than seeing addicts as criminals, viewers are exposed to the effects that addiction has on families, relationships and careers. How do shows like this change the way you think about drug addicts?
So let’s say there are two sides to drug use. While many people experiment with drugs without any harmful consequences, drug use also comes with the possibility of addiction or maybe even death. If it is unavoidable that young people come into contact with drugs, it’s important that they learn how to navigate the drug world safely before they meet it face to face. Regardless of your level of involvement, drugs can be dangerous. In the face of drug prevalence in our communities, what steps can you take to care for your safety and others?
Educate yourself: Watch How to Make Money Selling Drugs and read up on the risks involved with popular drugs in your community. Learning about drugs is not a crime. It just means you’re being proactive before you choose whether to experiment or not.
Educate your friends: Talk to your friends about the film and the things you’ve learned. You never know what can prevent a person from becoming an addict. If one of your friends is addicted to drugs, be patient, kind and understanding if you approach them. Discuss directions towards recovery that make you and your friend feel comfortable and safe.
Be open-minded: Remember, there are two sides to the War on Drugs. Listen to the way in which the people around you talk about drug addiction. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Discuss what you know about racism and classism regarding the prison system and the criminalization of drug addicts.
Stay safe: At the end of the day, what matters most is your own and others’ safety. Think before you act and help your friends do the same. Together, you can assist other young people in avoiding the danger surrounding drugs.