Celebrities and Famous People who Generate Negative Messaging

There are some celebrities who self-promote for profit and name recognition and do so in a manner that disregards social decorum and positive messaging. In some cases, celebrities are widely known as negative role models and for creating negative messaging through anti-social and sometimes illegal activities. Unfortunately, these boisterous, socially irresponsible few often have large followings that consume and are motivated by negative messaging and anti-social behavior. There are more teens on Instagram than any other social media platform and many follow their favorite actors, singers, and athletes. With celebrities racking up millions of followers, it’s unfortunate that some of them use their reach and power to promote the use of alcohol and drugs.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens (NIDA for Teens), Wiz Khalifa, Diplo, Rihanna, and Nicki Minaj have posted hundreds of pictures with or of drugs and alcohol. Miley Cyrus posted a photo of herself wearing a t-shirt stating “I’m In Love With The Coco” that by many accounts is a reference to an O.T. Genasis song about cocaine, “CoCo”. More than 7% of Snoop Dogg’s Instagram photos involve drugs or alcohol.

Beyond pictures of people doing drugs, many drug dealers are turning to Instagram to advertise their products, according to NIDA for Teens. They post piles of pills and baggies full of weed with the same artistic filters applied to any other pictures. Though Instagram’s community rules prohibit sharing images that break the law, new drug-related hashtags and new user accounts have been known to pop up frequently [9].

Justin Bieber was arrested in January 2014 on drinking under the influence (DUI) charges. Based on his talent, success, and reach, he could have been a terrific role model for teens. Instead, he seems to have chosen a path to self-destruction. He was arrested while street racing in a Lamborghini. The star admitted to police in Florida that he had been drinking, smoking marijuana, and taking prescription drugs all at the same time. Mixing drugs and alcohol while street racing sends a very negative message especially when people could have been killed, including Bieber himself [10].

NIDA for Teens keeps up-to-date on drug use trends and social media and cultural trends that may impact drug abuse. At the end of 2012, NIDA for Teens noticed a huge spike in the number of searches on the NIDA for Teens website for information on Molly, a club drug made from MDMA (short for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), which is most commonly known as Ecstasy or Molly, the pure form of MDMA.

Molly is abused at clubs and concerts and is referred to in electronic music. Rap and hip hop are mentioning the drug more often. In 2012, several major artists released songs that referenced Molly:

  • ? Kanye West in “Mercy”: “Something about Mary, she gone off that Molly/ now the whole party is melted like DalL”
  • ? Trinidad James in “All Gold Everything:” “Popped a Molly and now I’m sweating, woo!”
  • ? Rihanna in “Diamonds:” “Palms rise to the universe, as we moonshine and Molly, feel the warmth, we’ll never die, we’re like diamonds in the sky.”

While many of these songs focus on the euphoria Molly can cause, they leave out the dangers it poses to the brain and body. Molly may be a hot topic in pop culture, but most teens steered clear of the drug. In 2012, NIDA’s Teens Monitoring the Future survey found that only 7.2% of 12th graders had used Ecstasy in their lifetime, a 4.5% decrease from 2011 [11].

NIDA for Teens uses social media warfare methods to expose the negative side of drug use and to influence people by posting real-life stories about drug abuse and the impact of drug abuse. Many of these posts are designed to teach lessons about drug abuse:

  • ? “Glee” Cast Members Speak Out about Drug Abuse
  • ? “Amy” and “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck”—Up Close and Very Personal
  • ? Amy Winehouse: Death by Misadventure
  • ? Celebs and Drugs: A Cycle of Arrests and Rehab
  • ? Demi Lovato’s Road to Recovery
  • ? Dopers’ Downfall May Be Cycling’s Salvation—Tour de France 2015: End of an Era
  • ? Elton John Reflects on Drug Addiction
  • ? Former “Jersey Shore” Star in Recovery from Painkiller Addiction
  • ? How Does Pro Football Tackle Players’ Drug Use?
  • ? In Memoriam: Lost to Addiction and Mental Illness
  • ? Lindsay Lohan on Why Recovery Can Be So Hard
  • ? Macklemore Talks Drug Abuse, Addiction, and Recovery
  • ? Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death and the Terrible Toll of Addiction
  • ? Real Life: The Choices We Make
  • ? Whitney Houston: Cocaine and Heart Disease
  • ? Wired to Win? Drug Testing Comes to Sports
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