There are various social issues which affect our societal setup. This particular study intends to examine the issue of drug abuse and alcohol in young adults on their class status i.e. lower and upper class. There are certain myths which have been prevailing in the society regarding this problem. Some people argue that drug abuse is usually present in lower class because those people do not have access to normal lifestyle and education. The people belonging to lower class try to cope with their deprived status by indulging in drug abuse activities. They want to replace their disappointments with drug abuse and alcohol. While rich people tend to adopt drug abuse and addiction because of their luxurious life, as they do not have any fear of losing a job or money. But it is considered a myth according to recent research, which employs that people indulge in drug addiction because it is termed as a disease now. In addition to that, socio-economic factors are playing a critical role in this scenario. This study intends to interlink drug abuse in young adults belonging from different class and background.
This study is significant because often these kind of issues are persisting in society but no one tries to dig deeper into the underlying cause-effect relationship. Economic and financial stability or weakness is imperative in this global age. They influx of technology and advancement has raised the importance of money and social status. It results in social anxiety and increased stress level. This situation further palpitates many offspring in the form of drug addiction to avoid the real problem. There can be various causes which show that often young adults who have been suffering from family issues or constant failure, they tend to move towards drug problems rapidly other than the ones who have supportive families. The effects of stress and family pressure are usually evident in high achieving families. It is also important to discuss that media plays an integral role in shaping the reality of our society. It invokes people to generate certain perception about a particular issue. In this context, it is often seen that a young man belonging from a lower-class and middle-class family is portrayed as unemployed and drunk. While on the other hand a young adult belonging from high achieving family is showed as a very successful person, even though that person will party with his peers and friends. But the primary focus of people will remain on the young adult who is poor and ultimately drowns into the abyss of drug abuse and alcoholism.
Kendal argues in her books that, it is common in the USA that many media agencies and newspaper, magazines tend to form certain kind of stereotypes regarding class status. Such as absolute myth is often seen that drunk and drug addicts are homeless, unemployed and uneducated people, who have been driven into this maze due to their family status. It is a common assumption now that people associate weakness and laziness with drug addicts or alcoholism. Although this issue is present in young adults belonging from lower economic status. But it doesn’t make it a rule, while media has been investing in these series of stereotypes for years. Which is also reviewed and analyzed in Kendal’s book, where she argues that the construction of class-based stereotypes is generated due to television programs and various newspapers mainly focusing on New York Times. She succinctly reaches at a solid argument that media has formed the so-called culture of “class” and how it plays its role in societal issues. Such as in this issue, some people have developed a perception about “spoiled rich kids,” who tend to engage in fancy parties and drug addictions due to their broken homes and excess of money.
This issue is not affecting society, but Kendal argues that media paves the way for direction behaviors of people towards a certain issue. Such as the representation of the class is done by media, so issues are understood according to preconceived notions about class structure. The illustration of this divide is evident in Kendall book, where she draws a clear picture of so-called ” representation of the class.” She argues that young adults are portrayed as successful people who are living remarkable lives full of opportunities and luxuries. The so called criminals and mafia of upper world are shown as living a grand life. In comparison to this situation, it shows the hypocrisy present in society that criminals or mafia belonging from lower class are shown involved in drug abuse, living in dark places or roaming on stress. They are mainly shown in a ridiculous situation with no sense of civilized behavior.
The research based on “media frames” depicts the attitude of society towards media representation of these people. There is no sympathy shown towards these people as if they are left there in an underserved situation to suffer. In addition to this, it must be pointed out that even if those lower class people have an image of drug abuse, they are not shown to be seeking help from professionals. It is already assumed that they are weak, uneducated, uncivilized and poor. It is also important to highlight that most of the perceptions and notions about this issue have been invested by media into the societal mind. The mindset needs to change to discuss this issue and resolve it through rational thinking based on empirical and theoretical research. It is also argued that victimization of the middle class, which is also misunderstood regarding class division because the middle class is working class different from lower class.
It is established standpoint by Kendall that media has been playing a very significant role in shaping our mind about the reality and myths of the lower class and middle class. People have associated various factors and issues with both the classes. Similarly, this issue is also viewed from the perspective of media, which shows that young adults from lower class tend to adopt harmful habits and lifestyle choices such as drug abuse involvement. There is another interesting point raised by Kendall, where she says that people tend to buy those products which are usually promoted by media.
Sometimes, the goods and lifestyle are shown in TV programs, or movies, which shows that people are drinking so much, some lower class or high-class people turn to drug abuse to handle their life stress. They have turned into control freaks who have lost control over theory life, so drugs become their way to the s called “salvation.” It gives stimulation to the desire of being whatever is shown on the big screen, which indicates that people have inherited their social issues from media representation. This conflict has also been influenced by this social construction of media and its members.
Kendall argues that these two dimensions have been constructed in such as frivolous manner that people tend to ignore the seriousness embedded in these perceptions and views, which are reflected by media. As she states in her book, ” As a result, it is easy for us to buy into the dominant ideological construction that views poverty as a problem of individuals, not of the society as a whole.” ( Kendall) This issue becomes more critical when the issues are associated with a lower class. People have become immune to the idea that if someone is indulged in drugs or criminal activities, that person will be from lower class because upper class has been raised in a “sophisticated manner.” Socio-economic conditions have framed the class-based constraints that have affected the information available on social issues.
The reports have been collected on this topic of drug abuse among young adults which have shown varying results due to many socio-economic, political and demographic factors. It shows that mostly immature and young adults ( between the age of 18-21) were involved in drug abuse. The decline in drug abuse was noticed among those young people who were under the watch of educated parents. These young adults were under constant monitoring. There was the percentage of those children whose parents left high school, less change was reported in these students and young adults. It might be concluded from this study that the later happened because parents were not aware of the consequences of the drug abuse or they were ignorant of their children’s situation. It can also be assumed from the driven research that young people’s parents were also involved in these activities and they belonged from the lower class. The situation leaves a significant impact on the lifestyle of a person. It is most likely that environment and societal set up shapes the personality of a person and his interest, but it must not be considered as a rigid rule to draw results.
It was argued in a report published on drug addiction and its causes, which showed that drug addiction is linked to many factors like low financial status and limited opportunities on the economic system. Drug addiction was presented as a byproduct of certain factors which incorporate in producing adult abusers and drug abusers. It was argued that there were some risk factors involved in drug abuse. They will e briefly discussed here, such as some adults experience neglect and parental abuse during their childhood. They tend to repeat those actions and experiencing by adopting them as their lifestyle. The role of genetics is also vital, for example, if a mother is drug abusers and she intakes drugs or alcohol during pregnancy, it results in “DNA gene sequencing,” which suggests that due to the mutation in genes, her child might be drug abuser to prone to this illness.
It was also suggested that education, poverty, race, wealth status, parental substance abuse and mental health play a significant role in triggering this issue, which creates chaos in society. It was stated that it would be wrong to associate drug abuse with lower class or poverty directly. But the indirect influence can be examined on this issue. For example, there is growing tendency that these factors are contributing to this issue. It denotes the significance of factors by illustrating that it is not necessarily true that rich people do to indulge in drug abuse. But the chances for the lower class to indulge in such activities are more because they face the traumas of a financial crisis, unemployment, education deprivation and poor household problems. (“Economic Status And Abuse | Dual Diagnosis”) The sociological and material factors tend to push poor people towards excessive substance use, which results in bad health and mental condition as well as a destructive lifestyle. It impacts the society in a negative way; it portrays a demolishing image of societal setup and its downward movement towards negative attitude. It also creates many problems for families who are severely affected by this issue and its consequences. ( Mackenbach)
It is also reported that smoking is mostly common among poor class and lower class adults than those belonging from upper strata, which shows the effect of financial inequity. (Siapush) According to another research, which shows that American society is divided into two main classes regarding the use of drugs and drug abuse ( also known as drug addiction/ substance abuse ), that lower and middle class is involved in drugs. It shows that middle-class people are involved but not to the higher extent, in fact, it has reduced in the past years especially in educated class. While the poor class containing homeless people, who have less financial means, there several cases of drug abuse mainly cocaine, heroin, and cases of AIDS were also reported. The use of alcohol is viewed as a persistent issue, while the use of illegal drugs is also on the rise. ( KERR, PETER)
According to Professor David ( professor of psychiatry at Yale ) stated that society is dealing with two different worlds regarding drug abuse and substance use. It shows that the core problem is excessive use of cocaine among young adults, this use got hype during 1960’s-70’s. It was stated that “The question we must be asking now is not why people take drugs, but why do people stop,’ ”In the inner city, the factors that counterbalance drug use – family, employment, status within the community – often are not there. It is harder for people with nothing to say no to drugs.” ( KERR, PETER) People have been moving towards drug abuse due to the hopelessness of their situation and devastating economic status. Economic inequality is giving birth various other issues including drug abuse, which must be handled with immense strategic care and research before it becomes a large epidemic.
The issue if drug abuse is strongly linked to the deprivation of education and less awareness. It increases chances for individuals to indulge in drug abuse. It was also reported in a recent research that people who were less likely to indulge in drug abuse belonged from big financial homes and educated parents. The number of students who attained more marks in SAT was actually of high economic status. While the young adults belonging from lower income class were involved in drug abuse and excessive usage of drugs. It can be concluded, as they say . “wealth breeds wealth.”
Mental illness is also considered a significant factor which incorporates in drug abuse. It was reported that approximately 43 million US citizens were engaged in drug abuse and mental illness issues. It is argued by experts that many rich people were reportedly shown to be diagnosed with mental health issues, bipolar disorder, drug abuse and depression. It was also reported that the chances of mental illness due to drug abuse were high for young adults who belong to lower economic status. It is argued that economic status can incorporate in the development of drug abuse and mental illness.
The issue of poverty and drug abuse is also problematic because adults who are involved in this problem usually do not seek professional to resolve this issue. In addition to this, it is also argued that if a drug abuser is homeless, then the particular person is left alone and due to lack of support it becomes worst. National Council for Homeless people stated that drug addicts lack the motivation to leave drug addiction because they have poor living conditions. It can be concluded that most of the myths have been developed by media in society, but the division of social classes and economic status incorporates in the issue of drug abuse.
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