Music Industry Drug Epidemic

By Jack Connor

Source: Rolling Stone

What do Prince, Mac Miller, Tom Petty, Juice WRLD, and Lil Peep have in common?  They were all extremely talented musical artists, and they all died within the past four years.  Although both Prince and Petty were fairly old, both over fifty, Mac Miller and Lil Peep were both only in their twenties.  All of their deaths, though, were all related to one overarching problem: heavy substance abuse. The drugs that killed each of these loved musicians were not all the same, but the end result was.  Twenty-two artists have died from drugs in the past ten years, and it doesn’t look like this number will be any smaller in the next decade. In fact, with the amount of musicians who consistently abuse drugs, it’s surprising this number isn’t higher.  With such a large number of deaths and near-deaths stemming from substance abuse, it begs the question, what causes such talented artists to go down such a harmful path?

The answer to this is much more complex than it may seem.  The simple answer is that drugs in the music industry are seen as “cool,” and musicians use them to gain more popularity and “clout” with their fans.  This may not be the answer to the problem, but it may help to provide one. If popular musicians are constantly using drugs to seem “chill” and stay popular with fans, then up-and-coming artists will follow in the footsteps of the famous musicians they are trying to become.  The effect these actions cause extend beyond the world of fame and music, and into these musicians’ fans as well. There is speculation that fans see their favorite artists, or their friends attempting to become famous as musicians, and follow their lead, causing many teens and even adults to fall into terrible drug and alcohol addictions.  However, this is speculation, not direct fact, as there are no statistics directly relating the two.

There are other reasons famous musicians do drugs as well, some of which stem from the environment that typically surrounds these artists.  Musicians often perform in places such as nightclubs or other environments where drug use is often promoted. Dealers at these performing areas often push their products on people they know can afford their drugs and can sustain their business.  This means they’ll be selling drugs to musicians, who typically are affluent enough to sustain a drug-filled lifestyle. Drug dealers will usually attempt to push their products much more on people of wealth in an attempt to gain more money and entrance into these famous people’s lives.  However, even though there are all these outside forces affecting musicians, the choice itself is their own, and it all comes down to how much they can control themselves and avoid these temptations.

There are numerous amounts of musicians who can be used as examples of artists who have fallen down the dark path of drugs, but for every one of these musical artists who is addicted, there is another who is completely drug free, and living a model life.  There are also numerous musicians who have overcome drug addictions, and are living happy, drug-free lives. The point of this is, even if artists fall down this dark path, whether from peer pressure, environment, or in an attempt to reach fame, they can all climb out of the void, and reach a healthy lifestyle.  Perhaps the most important lesson that can be drawn from these deaths and the numerous addictions in the music industry is that, even though there are numerous temptations, not just for musicians, everyone can overcome them, and strengthen their willpower and self-confidence through rejection of these harmful substances.