According to NIDA's 2009 Monitoring the Future Survey (High School and Youth Trends), cigarette smoking is at its lowest among students in grades 8, 10, and 12. On the other hand, Marijuana use rates have remained steady  and non-medical use of Vicodin and Oxycodin increased in the past 5 years.

To kick off NIDA's National Drug Facts Week, we highlighted studies that explore the relationship between youth substance abuse and media:

Primack, B. A., Kraemer, K. L., Fine, M. J., & Dalton, M. A. (2009).  Media exposure and Marijuana and alcohol use among Adolescents. Substance Use & Misuse, 44(5), 722-739.

  • Researchers found that kids who listened to more than four hours of music per day were more likely to have used marijuana than those who listened to less music. Kids who watched more movies were more likely to have used alcohol than other kids

Primack, B. A., Dalton, M. A., Carroll, M. V., Agarwal, A. A., & Fine, M. J. (2008). Content analysis of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs in popular music. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med, 162(2), 169-175.

  • Researchers found that rap music had the most references to substance use, while pop music had the fewest. They also found that alcohol was the most commonly portrayed substance in music lyrics, and that consequences of substance use were often portrayed as positive rather than negative.

Hanewinkel, R., & Sargent, J. D. (2007). Exposure to smoking in popular contemporary movies and youth smoking in Germany. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 32(6), 466-473.

  • Researchers found that teens with higher exposure to smoking appearances in movies were significantly more likely to have tried smoking and to be a current smoker.

Gruber, E. L., Thau, H. M., Hill, D. L., Fisher, D. A., & Grube, J. W. (2005). Alcohol, tobacco and illicit substances in music videos: A content analysis of prevalence and genre. Journal of Adolescent Health, 37(1), 81-83.

  • Researchers analyzed about 360 music videos from cable channels, looking for the presence of alcohol, tobacco, or other substances. They found that 4 out of 10 videos showed some evidence of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. 

Blair, N. A., Yue, S. K., Singh, R., & Bernhardt, J. M. (2005). Depictions of substance use in reality television: A content analysis of “The Osbournes.”Bmj, 331(7531), 1517-1519.

  • Researchers looked at the use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco in the reality television show "The Osbournes." They found that the show sends out mixed messages: sometimes characters reject tobacco, alcohol and drugs use while at other times they approve of it. 

Stern, S. R. (2005). Messages from teens on the big screen: Smoking, drinking, and drug use in teen-centered films. J Health Commun, 10(4), 331-346.

  • The researcher analyzed 43 popular movies for teen smoking, drinking and drug use. She found that teenaged characters were shown smoking, drinking and doing drugs. 

 Wax, P. M. (2002). Just a click away: Recreational drug Web sites on the Internet. Pediatrics, 109(6), e96.

  •  The researcher explored information accessible on the Internet regarding recreational drug use and found that there are many sites on the World Wide Web, all easily accessible to children who are familiar with the Internet, that contain mixed messages about drug use.

Long, J. A., O'Connor, P. G., Gerbner, G., & Concato, J. (2002). Use of alcohol, illicit drugs, and tobacco among characters on prime-time television.  Substance Abuse, 23(2), 95-103.

  •  Researchers investigated the use of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco by prime-time, major network television characters and found that the depiction of alcohol, drug, and tobacco use on television occurs much more infrequently than the use of these substances occurs in real life.

Halpern, J. H., & Pope, H. G., Jr. (2001). Hallucinogens on the Internet: A vast new source of underground drug information. American Journal of Psychiatry, 158(3), 481-483.

  • The study authors located numerous sites on the location, production, and consumption of hallucinogenic materials. They found that much of the information was of a questionable nature, and there were few educational or governmental websites with material to counteract hallucinogen misinformation.

 Forsyth, A. J., Barnard, M., & McKeganey, N. P. (1997). Musical preference as an indicator of adolescent drug use. Addiction, 92(10), 1317-1325.

  • Researchers surveyed teens in Scotland about their musical preferences. They found that kids who were rave music fans were more likely to have used drugs than those who did not list rave music in their response.


Use the free CMCH Database of Research to find other studies on children, media, and health.

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