A study published by the Journal of Addiction Medicine conducted with college students showed a direct association between energy drink consumption and subsequent nonmedical use of prescription stimulants.
The study also indicated that that college student who consumed energy drinks have a higher risk for abusing alcohol and cocaine.
Does advertising work to influence the use of drugs, alcohol or tobacco? Let’s look at how cigarette use has dwindled over the last several decades. Starting in the 1960s, advertising began to be used to reduce tobacco use and thereby save lives. In response, teen use between 1997 and 2013 dropped from 37% to 16%. Among adults, cigarette smoking dropped from 42.4% to 16.8%. The results may be slow but changes in tobacco advertising has definitely helped shrink these numbers.
Encouraging Teens to Look out for Their Peers
We all know that youth are dealing with a lot of peer pressure. Few kids are immune to this invisible force that can be subtle in its manifestations but brutal in its effects. The simple desire to be liked or fit in with a group of friends can influence an individual’s values and actions in dangerous ways. Peer pressure is effective in convincing youth to take part in risky activities like drug use and sex and it’s also in full force in convincing teens to stay silent when they see their friends taking serious risks.
Just fifteen or twenty years ago, it would have been unheard of for a high school student to use or be addicted to heroin. That was a drug seemingly reserved for those “degraded, marginal characters” – the ones dubbed “junkies.” For middle-class families in cities or suburbs, heroin was a subject that seemed a million miles from their homes and children.
That’s no longer the situation. Now, families across the nation have discovered that their beloved children are addicted to heroin. In some families, this discovery is made only when their teen-aged child fatally overdoses. In schools, educators become frustrated when they do their best to prevent drug use by their students, only to suffer another loss to drug overdose.
Millions of young people are now growing up surrounded by the fact of legal marijuana. Maybe it’s medical dispensaries in their state. Maybe they routinely smell pot smoke drifting through their backyards. Maybe their parents have used the drug for as long as they can remember. Though it’s not a topic of much discussion, it’s very likely that these young people will develop an attitude of complete tolerance for this drug. The dangerous effect of that attitude should not be underestimated.