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Drug Abuse and Musicians: The Field of Music Also a Playing Field of Its Own for Substance Abuse
The music field is an area of fame, bliss, success, wealth prosperity, and artistic create. The entire world moves to the beats of different music in all different styles, demographics, and languages. Culture is greatly affected by music and has been for centuries. Music follows mankind wherever he goes, and music has changed and evolved over the centuries as man has. Music is a way of expression, a style of art, and a medium for communication.
Music is religious, music is spiritual, music is style and music is an intricate part of life. Music is a career too, and a lifestyle for many. Why then, with all of the greatness, appreciation, splendor, and happiness that comes from music do so many musicians abuse drugs and alcohol? Why is this career so much more prone to substance abuse than other careers are?
Key Aspects to the Music Industry: Why So Many Musicians Often End Up Abusing Drugs
The question is often asked, why on earth do musicians who have made it in life to achieve their goals and are doing exactly what they want to be doing in life abuse drugs and alcohol? Substance abuse is something that people engage in when they are down, when they have experienced a loss, when they have suffered to some degree, when they have fallen on hard times, when they cannot seem to make it in life, when they have found a major failing in their lives, etc. So why would musicians have three to four times the chances of abusing drugs and alcohol than other people in other careers would? Here are some key reasons and ideas:
1. Environment is a key factor:
A lot of times people abuse substances because they are there. It’s common sense but of course but one is a lot more likely to abuse drugs and to take alcohol when one is surrounded by such substances. Being that musicians are always playing at night, surrounded by the drunk and high, this environment does not promote a culture of abstinence and makes it very easy to give in to temptation.
2. Wealth, Fame, and Image Promote Substance Abuse:
Most well-known and popular musicians are relatively rich by modern standards, and the wealthier and wealthier they get and they are, the more sustainable their bad habits are too. It is expensive to abuse drugs, but musicians can afford it. Drug dealers are essential salesmen at heart and they, as any other salesman would be, prefer to target the rich. The rich can afford more drugs and higher quality drugs, so dealers tend to target them. The result is that musicians are exposed to drugs more often than the average Joe.
3. Benefits For the Dealer:
The social and status-related benefits of being around musicians are very high indeed. For one to be the guy to supply a musician of any caliber or genre with his or her favorite fix would mean entrance into their inner circle of friends and connection. Drug dealers will work a lot harder to get in good with a musician than they would with an average, middle class American individual, as they have so much more to gain from this endeavor. Honestly, this is actually what led to the downfall of legendary jazz singer Billie Holliday and her sad story was begun with drug abuse.
The vast majority of incredibly successful musicians are under the age of 35. They are young, and they often became famous at a very, very young age. Because of this musicians can sometimes be immature and inexperienced, and thus make stupid decisions without really thinking them through that are then magnified on a 10X scale by their money and their fame.
5. Peer Pressure:
Peer pressure is probably the biggest factor in musicians abusing drugs and alcohol. To be a musician is to be cool. To abuse drugs and alcohol is also to be, “cool”, or so the dealers, pushers, and traffickers would have everyone think. The resultant qualities and characteristics of many drug users and abusers, such as taking risks and being fearless, are celebrated among the young and are admired and looked up to. A lot of times musicians, especially when they are very young, are duped into the thought that, without taking drugs, they will not be perceived as cool.
Another Reason for Substance Abuse
Even without all of the peer pressure and environmental incentives though, there is another reason why musicians abuse drugs and alcohol that comes on a very intimate level. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, (NIDA):
• “Drugs contain chemicals that tap into the brain’s communication system and disrupt the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information… The result is a brain awash in dopamine, a neurotransmitter present in brain regions that control movement, emotion, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. The overstimulation of this reward system, which normally responds to natural behaviors linked to survival (eating, spending time with loved ones, etc.), produces euphoric effects in response to psychoactive drugs.”
This means of course that when one is doing something pleasurable, the brain will respond with more requests for more pleasurable things. Pleasure equals pleasure which equals more pleasure. Music is a very pleasurable thing, and when a musician is engaging in this activity all the time he or she is generating pleasure to one degree or another. On a chemical and deeply physiological as well as spiritual level the musician will also be craving other forms of pleasure while doing this, and when drugs are offered to him or her, the temptation often takes over.
What to Do About Addiction and Substance Abuse in the Music Field
It is all too well known that musicians abuse drugs and abuse alcohol and become addicted. What can be done to prevent this though? Too many good musicians have lost their lives thanks to drug and alcohol abuse, and it is hoped that this trend will one day cease to be.
The best way to address it is by utilizing inpatient, residential, drug and alcohol addiction and dependence treatment centers, detox facilities, rehab programs, and recovery organizations. With proper rehab and treatment, any musician who is afflicted with addiction can finally say no to his or her habit and experience freedom and solace from substance abuse.
It is rehabilitation that will be the silver lining for musicians, and it is rehabilitation that will ultimately save them from themselves and from the negative aspects of the environments that they circle in.