In the last three years, a slew of young, promising rap artists has exploded online. Unfortunately, some of the most influential have also been lost far too early to a drug overdose. For some, it was a Xanax addiction which led to a life ending way too soon.
Mac Miller, Lil Peep and Juice WRLD lost their lives before the age of 25 due to substance abuse. The opioid epidemic that swept through America in the last decade is ever-present among the hip-hop community. The crisis poses just as much of a threat to its artists as it does to their fans who may look up to those making the music.
Why So Many Rap Artists Use Drugs
Drug use is nothing new in the rap world. The glorification of drinking and smoking marijuana dates to the 80s and 90s. This was a time when rap was just beginning to flourish in America thanks to artists like Notorious B.I.G., Tupac and Snoop Dogg. Lyrics from the most influential artists in rap focused heavily on partying, sex, and a lifestyle of luxury and self-liberation entwined with substance abuse.
In the 2010s, artists like Lil Wayne began to mention the use of Xanax, an anti-anxiety medication, and benzodiazepines in their music. Many of the young artists who are struggling with substance abuse today may have been inspired to “pop a perky” or “Xanny” by the rappers they admired the most.
We can’t blame rap artists for anyone else’s actions, but we also cannot deny the impact social groups and the media have on people. For the artists, it’s a part of the business. For fans, music is an escape, just like the drugs their favorite rappers sing about.
The Influence on Fans
Anyone who listened to Mac Miller or Lil Peep knows that they were struggling with an addiction. Lil Peep struggled heavily with substance abuse and depression. Mac Miller’s addiction problems were coupled with chronic depression, feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and personal struggles.
All the artists turned to music as an outlet. Lil Peep’s music often explored themes of depression, death, drug addiction, and heartache. In his track “U Said” the 21-year-old sang, “Running away from you takes time and pain and I don’t even want to. So I’m getting high all week without you, popping pills thinking about you.”
While old-school rap once portrayed substance abuse in a fun-loving, positive light, the artist’s young listeners turn to today are using drugs as a coping mechanism. Many fans relate to the artists and take their words to heart. With shared feelings, many listeners were influenced to try the same drugs they hear in their favorite lyrics.
Xanax Addiction and the Brain
You can’t escape your feelings, no matter how numb you are to them. Drugs wear off, and you’ll always find yourself right back where you started. Probably feeling even worse. Substance abuse traps its victims in a cycle of suffering and shame; dispersed with intermittent highs that make self-destruction feel like salvation.
When you’re hurting, anything that takes away the pain is a good thing. Especially when you suffer in silence. Drugs make it easy for you to channel all your pain into a specific outlet. They’re also always there for you. There even when therapy doesn’t seem to be working or your friends and family can’t make you feel better.
But drugs create permanent changes in the way our brains process emotions. They worsen psychological symptoms, and they perpetuate an endless cycle of agony that only the right treatment and dedication can stop.
Do You Need Help Running from Yourself?
If you take drugs to cope with depression, soothe anxiety or just cope with life, you aren’t alone. Rap music is just one type of media that has highlighted the ways self-medication is both a blessing and a curse to those who fall under its spell. Maybe you aren’t sure that there’s a rehab out there for you, or you wonder whether your problems are even big enough to require treatment.
The bottom line is this: Anyone who wants to stop using drugs and get help deserves it. It doesn’t matter how often you use them or whether you can still hold down a job. Your life matters and you deserve any help that you may need.
There are many different types of addiction treatment. Rehab at Ocean Hills Recovery can involve living in a facility, attending weekly group meetings or even just setting your own therapist. Whatever path you take, it’s important to reach out and recognize that there is a way out of all the suffering, and it starts with being sober. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction. Contact your local hospital or speak with one of our professionals at Ocean Hills Recovery today.
About the author:
Greg opened his home and heart to alcoholics and addicts in 2003. He is a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor (CATCI). Starting in 2009 Greg has fostered the growth of Ocean Hills Recovery into one of the most respected and effective treatment centers in the area and has been working with people with addictions since March of 2001. Greg believes in a holistic approach to recovery. His focus is on drug alcohol addiction treatment with a combination of 12 Step work, therapy and counseling, and the rejuvenation of the body through healthful eating and exercise. He has designed his program to foster a family-like atmosphere and believes that people in recovery are just beginning their lives. He encourages the people he works with to learn to enjoy life in sobriety. Greg is married to Nicole; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.