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One-Third of Popular Songs Refer to Substance Abuse
Date:11/8/2007

and emotional consequences were positive, but physical and legal consequences were negative," Primack said.

What about veiled references to drugs or alcohol in songs? Primack said there just aren't many of those types of songs today -- compared to, say, The Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," thought by some to refer to LSD, although the band said that wasn't the case.

"Today's music is not nearly as subtle as the Beatles were," he said.

And what about country music and the findings that it often refers to alcohol instead of drugs? "I'm not saying that's great, but we don't know if it really makes a difference," Primack said. "Maybe kids listen to songs with alcohol, and it doesn't affect them one way or another. Maybe it affects them a great deal."

DiClemente agreed that research hasn't shed much light on exactly how the entertainment that kids watch or hear affects their behavior. For example, it's hard to tell if violent TV makes kids violent or if they were already aggressive and liked violent TV for that reason, he said.

"The question again is, what the relationship is to the behavior of people, if there is any?" DiClemente said. "It would be nice to know."

More information

Find out more about music's influence on children at the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy.



SOURCES: Brian A. Primack, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, University of Pittsburgh; Ralph DiClemente, Ph.D., professor, public health, Emory University, Atlanta; Nov. 7, 2007, presentation, American Public Health Association annual meeting, Washington, D.C.


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