Popular Media and Preventing Substance Use Disorders

A colleague contacted me earlier today asking if I and other on a discussion list had seen a video clip on "weed bracelets" - see http://www.blackmediascoop.com/2011/11/02/is-your-kid-wearing-a-weed-bracelet/

My response follows:

Thank you J; very interesting.

A couple thoughts:

1.     “It is always gonna be somethin'"
2.     News media that sensationalize things such as this not only make adults/parents aware of such things—in a sensationalistic and therefore questionably responsible (ethical? moral?) way—but romanticize, glamorize, and otherwise proselytize items such as this in the eyes of adolescents à how many adolescents saw this and thought, “Damn, how do I get me one of them?” “Oh…there’s a website? Cool.”
3.     What is the “call to arms” the media are sounding by making this a focal point for parents? Namely, your kids are pulling a fast one and you are oblivious to it, that is, “you are failing as parents.”
4.     This is reactive journalism at best, not proactive…note the parental interviews that were selected to punctuate the piece, especially the guy who is particularly interesting in his passionate plea to send anyone selling these things directly to jail.

This leads to my last point…

5.     This is “problem oriented” prevention rather than solution oriented. It is scare tactics, but not to get high-risk users to lower risk…rather to inflame fears in the population most likely to demand immediate action (reaction?) in the form of more $ for interdiction, punishment, and other like efforts to ‘win the war on drug.’

Remember Carl Jung’s famous quote: What your resist, persists. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95EH9G1c_4o

What do you think?
Dr. Robert

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