Is Drug Addiction Glorified?



We had just gotten back from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico after spring break. It was a clear, warm Wednesday afternoon, and my mom had picked me up after Civics class. While we drove home, we discussed our day: a pop quiz in algebra, the coffee she got in the morning, the joke I had heard earlier.
Suddenly, my mom’s phone began ringing. It was a relative who, along with her family, had recently moved from our house into a mobile home. She was always complaining, so my mom sighed in annoyance at this call but hesitantly picked up. Sobbing into the phone, my relative said her husband had been using, and to come to their house immediately, which is when I learned both were addicted to methamphetamine, a controlled substance that is ingested by snorting, injection or orally consumed. Approximately 1.2 million people reported using methamphetamine in the past year, and 440,000 reported using it in the past month, according to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Considering these were people I had trusted nearly all of my childhood, I was taken aback. When my mom needed help, they were always there for us, as we were there for them, but their addiction brought their life crashing down, and with this tragedy not only did they affect themselves and me but more importantly their young children. I know addiction isn’t a choice, but the first time surely is. Growing up, I had looked up to them; I thought they were smarter, stronger.
It’s been roughly a year since this discovery. Even now, I fill up with intense anger. Every single time I see and hear about them, I wonder why they chose a life of drugs rather than the lives of their own children. I am furious that my sister, mom must clean up the mess they made. We raise their children, and I find myself worrying about their children rather than my AP World grade. I am at a loss when they why they can’t see their parents, or they talk about the abuse they went through while living with their parents.
Drug abuse, contrary to popular belief is not “goals” or romantic at all. The glorification of drug abuse that media outlets such as Youtube and movies portray is far from reality and show only cinematic notions of the repercussions of making hasty decisions regarding one’s choice to do drugs. Between 1984 and 2014, 1,273 movie scripts for movies held positive mentions of substance abuse, according to this collective study found by Movies like the Wolf on Wall Street and Scarface portray drug addiction as honorary and sought after. In reality, they leave behind children and responsibilities. Nine percent of children in this country (six million) live with at least one parent who abuses alcohol or other drugs, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway. The long term effects that drugs have on the body are more than harmful, and when one does drugs with children present, the lasting emotional and mental effect that will last on that child may potentially be deadly.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services studies show that about one-third to two-thirds of child maltreatment, defined as cruel or violent treatment of a person or animal, cases involve substance abuse. In retrospect, I should have guessed at the problem. For example, whenever we babysat the children for the weekend, the youngest’s neck would be bacteria ridden because of her lack of hygiene. Her neck was polluted in residue of spoiled milk, remaining infectiously beet red. In a survey by the National Center on Child Abuse Prevention Research, 85 percent of States reported substance abuse was one of the problems shown by families in which maltreatment was seen and suspected.
The movie industry must stop romanticizing drug use. No one should face the choice of abusing drugs without considering the consequences that they may leave on their future or even