Editorial: A culture of substance abuse
Students must acknowledge the university’s aid
Published: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 10:10
The music industry has long been associated with controversy and substance abuse, and as genres of music have changed and evolved, so have the forms of substance abuse. While certainly not a new substance, molly, a form of MDMA, has been gaining popularity among young adults and gaining attention from the media.
The university – student organizations, programs and officials – have all responded accordingly and shown more attention to an issue that cannot and should not be ignored. With the first large-scale concert of the semester organized by SCOPE just days away, acknowledging that drug use and underage drinking are unavoidable is one of the most productive approaches to this issue that the university can take.
Ideally, students and young adults would all act safely and responsibly at concerts (and at all times on campus), but the university has to prepare for and assume otherwise. Ultimately, examples of substance abuse go beyond Durham and students here. As much as the university would like to change this, the behavior and desire to abuse substances is beyond its control. Certain artists and genres idealize this type of behavior; this is a widespread issue, extending much beyond Durham.
This is not to say that a single artist, song or genre is influencing students to use molly or drink heavily, but rather that entire portions of the industry are sending the message that as long as a person is enjoying him or herself, then his or her actions are acceptable, no matter the consequences.
And as a result, these consequences fall not only on the students who are putting themselves in danger for a night of enjoyment, but are also now a responsibility of the university. Having already seen one student death this academic year as a result of drug use at a concert – albeit not on the UNH campus – the university seems to be acknowledging the importance of addressing drug and alcohol abuse before any other students are endangered.
SCOPE’s Kendrick Lamar concert does not have to be an event where students are endangered by their own decisions and actions. By SCOPE establishing guidelines for their own concert and not ignoring the stereotype of drug use at concerts, the members of the student organization are taking a step in the direction that all involved in the music industry should be taking.
But until the culture of the music industry changes (which does not appear to be in the near future), prevention, education and safety should always remain the priorities of the university. Punishment is a necessary deterrent, but preventive aid should come first.
By organizing events to encourage students to eat before choosing to drink and organizing campaigns vowing to make concerts safe experiences, organizations and the university are setting the right precedent for students. Now, it is up to the students to follow suit.