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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
Dr. Schwartz's Weblog

Drugs, Kids and Popular Songs

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Nov 8th 2007

I thought another title for this posting might be Wow. The American Public Health Association just published the results of a recent study that shows that one out of every three popular songs our kids listen to portrayed substance abuse. The drugs most frequently referred to are alcohol and marijuana though they are not the only drugs.

In addition, the songs regularly connect substance use with partying and sex. In other words, there is nothing cautionary about these songs. Instead, they make it appear to kids as though the use of drugs and alcohol is rewarding or will be rewarded with parties, fun and sex.

The lead researcher on this study, Dr. Brian Primack, MD, stated that past studies showed that to substance abuse messages, such as these, lead directly to actual substance use.

The article also points out that our kids listen to their music in the privacy of their ears because they are wearing ear plugs connected to iPods. Parents have no idea what they are listening to.

It is important that parents become aware and set limits on the types of music and messages to which their children are exposed.

I have said it before and I will say it again: Advertising works.

Your comments are encouraged.

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at for details.

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