Drugs and Music: Elucidating the Facts

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Since the days of the legendary reggae exponent, Bob Marley, to the time of Nigeria’s own Fela Anikulapo Kuti; from the Hip Hop Circle in the US to the Naija music scene, drugs & stimulants of various types and differing effects are synonymous with song writing, recording and stage performance of recording artiste.

While some artistes openly glorify and almost worship their stimulants through their songs and other avenues e.g. lil Wayne and his famous/infamous cough syrup aka syrup, sizzurp, drank etc., others choose to be more discrete about their stimulants and say nothing of it except for occasional vague references to it in their songs or other mediums. Either way, it cannot be denied that the presence of drugs on the entertainment scene at home and abroad cannot be denied or ignored.

So what we get high……..                                                                                   

For clarity’s sake, the word ‘stimulant’ or ‘drug’ in this piece refers to marijuana, cocaine, opium(morphine, codeine, heroine and other derivatives ) and other drugs that fall into this categories and other broad groups that induce an effect similar to the ones listed in users. Alcohol and cigarettes are not particularly of concern presently.

Why?

Creative artists in various fields ranging from drawing to writing and singing and even some scientists and researchers have always sought out ways to increase their efficiency and also and probably more importantly, their proficiency. Efficiency in this context refers to the ability to keep up stamina at optimum level for long stretches of time and at any time the user is called upon to perform. As such, a performing artiste who has 2 performances per day booked for 3 or 4 days successively and whose body may naturally not be used to such stress or who wants to feel “alive” or “gingered” up so as to be able to satisfy his crowd optimally may resort to stimulants so as to be able to maintain his mojo.

By Increased Proficiency, another reason why artistes turn to drugs, I am referring to the ability of an artiste to deliver at levels that are above his/her usual capacity especially in the creation process. A lot of artistes turn to drugs when they run dry of ideas or when they need superhuman efforts to develop their ideas.

Effects

Marijuana aka Mary Jane, pot, grass, reefer, weed etc. a derivative of the Indian hemp plant Cannabis Sativa is probably the most widely used drug in the world.

Many users describe two phases of marijuana intoxication: Firstly, initial stimulation, which includes dizziness and euphoria (extreme happiness), followed by sedation and pleasant tranquility and calmness. Mood changes are often accompanied by altered perceptions of time and space. Thinking processes become disrupted by fragmentary ideas and memories. Many users report increased appetite, heightened sensory awareness, and general feelings of pleasure.

Cocaine, a relatively recent drug which came to prominence in the 1970’s and 1980’s which is usually inhaled but can also be injected into a vein or smoked is also well known particularly for the crime syndicates which have sprung up all over the world for its illegal manufacture, transportation and distribution. Users experience euphoria, exhilaration, and a decreased appetite. The drug also increases heart rate, elevates blood pressure, and dilates the pupils

The effects produced by these drugs are mostly similar to those produced by other related stimulants. Considering the effects produced by these drugs, it is easy to see why an artiste may turn to drugs so as to boost his on stage confidence, and lift his/her spirits to satisfy audiences even when he/she is feeling down.

Downsides……..

Everything in life has a consequence, but drugs can have very devastating consequences. Cocaine is an addictive substance, i.e. users depend on it completely to function daily and eventually larger doses are needed to provide satisfaction. Moreover chronic use can lead to skin abscesses, perforation of the septum of the nose, weight loss, and damage to the nervous system

Negative effects of marijuana use can include confusion, acute panic reactions, anxiety attacks, fear, a sense of helplessness, and loss of self-control. Chronic marijuana users may develop amotivational syndrome characterized by passivity i.e. lack of motivation to do anything, decreased motivation, and preoccupation with taking drugs.

Like alcohol intoxication, marijuana intoxication impairs judgment, comprehension, memory, speech, problem-solving ability, reaction time, and driving skills. Smoking marijuana can damage the lungs, and long-term use may increase the risk of lung cancer.

And so……

With regular exercise, a good diet and timely rests, most people, recording artistes and stage performers inclusive, are better off without drugs. Most drugs are addictive and some addicts eventually ruin themselves financially by continuing to buy drugs(which by the way don’t come cheap) while not been able to perform their occupations properly due to negative effects of drugs and thereby cutting off their source of income.

Taking drugs for fun just to get high especially at parties is also dangerous especially for females who may get taken advantage of due to their altered state of minds. Even guys do unimaginably violent things they won’t do if they hadn’t taken drugs.

After all said and done, everyone is responsible for their eventual actions but everyone should at least have access to information so that they won’t say “had I known”, and that is what this article has attempted to accomplish.

Enjoy life, strive for happiness and have fun wisely.

You can follow me on twitter @ajistotle.

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