The role of media in preventing substance abuse

Mass Media can play a very effective role in preventing drug use. Campaigns for drug prevention are always without controversy and can be effective in educating the young so as to reduce their using of drugs or even their intention of using. The possibility of a mass media campaign being counter- productive has been analyzed and it has been found that it has gained momentum in the past few years. These campaigns are implemented via the newspaper and magazine advertisements, radio or television or even road posters and bill boards. These days, text messaging, email and internet has become a powerful tool for the media and it enables them to propagate their focused messages.

Where and how do mass media campaigns work?

Mass Media has the ability to capture the attention of a larger number of people as well as a heterogeneous proportion of a country’s population. Their messages which are very simple can reach large audiences over a period of time with a low cost per capita. The only dilemma that is associated with these campaigns is that the target population is not interested nor has requested for this kind of social intervention and therefore they may have a negative result with their negative reactions.
It is a known fact that media campaigns have been able to successfully reduce the use of tobacco, promote road safety and has had a positive impact in many areas such as physical activity, screening for breast and cervical cancer for women, donation of organs, promotion for nutrition that is healthy etc. They are also playing a dynamic role in preventing the use of illicit drugs in young people. They address specific substances with the sole aim of reducing their use and raising awareness about the problems that are associated with the use of these substances. Young people are the target group because there are evidences to show that drug abuse is a problem that begins during adolescence, a time when young people indulge in experimenting with alcohol, cigarettes and illicit drugs.
Very few drug prevention media campaigns have been evaluated in a formal manner and anyway most of the evaluations are based on how much people understand and retain their messages. In a research carried out to study the effectiveness of campaigns held by the mass media in order to influence the use of drugs, or the intention of using it or even an attitude towards illicit drugs of young people under the age of 26, it was concluded that in the twenty-three studies involving 200000 such people in Canada, U.S. and Australia, only 14 of these studies were able to meet the criteria for being included for its effectiveness whereas the other 9 seem to have no effect or an unwanted effect.

Review of the studies

The review of the studies came to a conclusion that mass media campaigns had no effect or a weak effect on the reduction of using drugs. These campaigns affected individuals differently depending on their awareness level. Therefore, mass media campaigns can only be effective when provided in the context of well designed studies.

The effect of drug peddling on society

The consequences for drug peddling

Drug peddling is equivalent to illegal drug trade which today has a global black market dedicated to distributing, manufacturing, cultivating and selling drugs which are subject to the laws of drug prohibition. Jurisdiction does not permit the trade of drugs except those which are under license and yet 1% of the total global trade today is illegal drug trade. It was during the 19 century that illegal drug trade actually emerged when China retaliated by putting into force the ban on Opium Imports. It is a known fact that drug peddling provides a huge source of secret income. The beginning of the 21st century has witnessed an increase in the use of drugs in Europe and North America especially for Cocaine and Marijuana. Drug trafficking, today is one of the most sort after trades and many business tycoons are directly or indirectly related to it.

Drug trade is directly linked to crimes such as murder especially in the developing countries. Highly addictive drugs are very expensive and so there are many who commit crimes like robberies, burglaries and shop lifting in order to support their addiction. Amongst the drugs that are widely peddled, Heroin, because of its high cost per volume is imported into the U.S. more than what it was before and even if the smuggling of it can lead to harsh penalties such as death sentenced or life imprisonment, it is still carried out successfully. Meth is also a popularly peddled drug and can be used in the form of injections as well as inhaled through test-tube fashioned into a pipe or by being vaporized on an Aluminum foil.
Another strong drug that is manufactured illicitly in laboratories is Temazepam. It is manufactured through chemical altercation and is widely abused especially in the U.K. in the form of prescription drugs. There are many more such dangerous drugs that are peddled and traded all across the world leading to drastic effects on society. It can have no positive effects other than creating a breed of people who are susceptible to violence and crime. The world needs enterprising young people and not drug peddlers and something must be done to make people aware that National Service matters to the people’s welfare while crime can only hurt.

The role of the court in drug peddling

It is distressing to see that the narcotics court is over burdened with cases related to drugs, prisons are filled with those who have abused drugs and thus resorted to violence as well as drug peddlers. Resources that are created for helping such cases are either insufficient or unavailable and many of these relate to the young people. There is an urgent need for intervention in all cases related to drugs, ranging from addiction to peddling and along with the legal penalties, it is important for educationists to step in and make an effort, even if the results are not far-fetched, to bring in a revolutionary change in the ideas of the youth so that drug abuse can be curbed.