Are drugs taking over the music industry?

By Kate Dyke
I.J. Samson Junior High
St. John's, Newfoundland

"Whatever route someone's going to take, they should look a little bit into it before they take that route," said Shannon Hoon, the front man of the group "Blind Melon", in an interview with Much Music the same year he died of a drug overdose at age 28.

Shannon Hoon

 Some other musical figures that have died tragically from drugs are: Jimi Hendrix (27), Janis Joplin (27), Elvis Presley (42), and Kurt Cobain (drug-related suicide at 27).
Most rock stars are clean, but the ones who aren't have taken a liking to drugs. At risk of overdose and HIV, what do they gain? They don't earn the title of a "peace-out, free minded hippie" anymore, but a wasted, burnt-out druggie, who's taking the path downhill. So many musical figures have been taken from us in the past and present, so what's up for the future?

A few films such as "Trainspotting" and "Basquiet," have given us the impression that drugs are "chic" all of a sudden. These musicians might do drugs for this reason, but once they get into it, it's very rare they get out. The stars who have died from drugs should have scared others away by now, but why haven't they?

According to the 1996 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, which may actually underestimate illicit heroin use, an estimated 2.4 million people try heroin, the most dangerous drug around, at some time in their lives. Nearly 216,000 of them reported using it within the month preceding the survey.

If all these people are using drugs, how many of them are known for their music? Practically none because if musicians are going to do drugs, they're not going to let their image be ruined. Sometimes the problem is obvious when these musicians are on stage or being interviewed. Judging from the way they act or talk, anybody can tell they're using drugs. On the other hand, some keep it in the closet for as long as they can, without anybody knowing except for them, or fellow band members.
Shannon Noon told Much Music about his bad experiences with drugs.

"I know my life would be a lot happier without these obstacles that drugs and alcohol have set in front of me," he said. "There's been a lot of time and energy wasted and a lot of creative parts of my life that have been completely dissolved because of it."

It's too bad Hoon didn't know these things before he got into drugs. We all hear about these drug addicts dying and we all say "that's sad". If this disturbs us, how do you think their families and friends feel?

I'd just like to warn future musicians about this problem, because if you're getting into the music industry, a lot of drugs are right under your nose. There's been some horrible, gruesome stories I've heard about these addictions and I'd hate to see anyone suffer from it.

I know for certain that if I ever got involved with music making, I'd be tempted. But I'd stop myself from trying these drugs. If I, or anyone else, for that matter, got addicted, we'd wind up either recovering painfully from rehabilitation with people's pity on our shoulders, or simply dead.


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