With actors, singers and other celebrities almost flaunting drug use in the western world it begs the question whether we should take our cues, as many often do, from the rich and famous. It doesn’t make sense that anyone would actually start using drugs, smoking or drinking because our favorite celebrities are doing it, we aren’t in high school anymore and for most adults there are no “cool kids”. Peer pressure can lead to a lot of bad choices when it comes to young people, but lets focus on adults for a minute and have some serious reflection when it comes to our choices concerning drugs and alcohol in the media, movies and music. All you need to do is open your web browser or pick up a celeb magazine at the checkout counter in a grocery store to see that there is some brand new celebrity drug scandal we’re being told to read about, but entertainment value aside, is the general lack of “morality” when it concerns booze and substances in celebrity stories really having an impact on our every day lives? Are we behaving differently towards addiction and drug use because famous people have problems in that area? Some might make the argument that because the wealthy and most followed people in western society often have a problem with drinking or some other vice that we use this as an excuse to dismiss our own difficulties and struggles with abused substances. It doesn’t seem like it’s a “well if they’re doing it so can I” kind of problem, but what might be happening is a new attitude towards addiction issues. For some, with real problems in their lives, turning to drugs and alcohol or refusing to acknowledge that there might be a problem could be, in a way, the result of seeing someone with absolutely everything in the world, who have no money issues and a seemingly thrilling and happy life turn to drugs as more of a past-time then anything else. Of course, we know that just because celebrities have fame and money doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering in other ways, but the big question is: Should celebrities be held to a higher standard just because of their social status.
We live in a capitalist, western society and we enjoy the luxury of certain freedoms that many parts of the world don’t. But for one of the fastest rising powers in the world, China, things are different, and probably will be for quite some time. Their society is known around the world as Communist. Or socialist if you prefer. They enjoy movies, music, radio and television just like anyone else, but the government in China has decided that they will crack down on what are known as vice crimes in the media industry. If it has been determined by the Chinese government that you have visited a prostitute, or done drugs, your TV show, radio station, website or other form of media will simply be banned and taken off the air or web. It’s pretty much a zero tolerance policy, and while it may seem extreme to us westerners, the Chinese are truly attempting to raise the moral standards of those who have the biggest impact on the general public. There is harsh criticism coming from within China, as the censoring of media projects because of the actions of an individual can have a very negative effect on everyone involved, which admittedly doesn’t sound fair, but those are the rules as they stand and regardless of where you stand politically, or however much you value free speech or how serious you are about enforcing morality on the rest of us, there are two contradicting philosophies when it comes to how to deal with the impact that the media has on a society when it comes to the issue of drugs and alcohol.
In China, being charged or convicted on a drugs offense whether it be use, selling or everything in between, you may see yourself sent to prison, a work camp or what they call a “rehabilitation camp”. Obviously this isn’t the best way to help those who have gotten caught up in the world of drugs. Specifically those who are addicted to alcohol, drugs or both. Addicts deserve humane treatment and a second chance at life. Or as many chances as need be to get healthy, for that matter. But I’ll put this question to you: “Do the media, celebrities, radio hosts or popular online websites and personalities impact our society with their “immoral” behavior in regards to alcohol and substance use and abuse? Are they immoral and doing us harm? Or do we regard them as social equals and look passed their indiscretions when it comes to drugs and addiction?