The Truth Behind Drugs and Music

Most songs that top the charts glamorize the lavish lifestyles of the rich and famous, fancy cars, wild adventures, and drugs galore. Listeners hear these songs condoning illicit drug use and heavy drinking, and it becomes a desirable lifestyle for them. These include songs like “Mask Off” by Future and “Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd. However, the relationship between drugs and music stretches across genres and decades. Today, our luxury drug and alcohol rehab in South Florida is looking into the relationship between music and substance abuse and the impact it’s had.

Music and Drug Culture

There is a rich representation of drugs in the music industry. Drug and alcohol abuse are frequently glamorized in popular songs, which may serve to normalize use for some listeners. However, not only are drugs often glamorized in music, but drugs and music are also powerful ways of strengthening social bonds.

The body provides a sense of identity and connection between people. Not only can having the same taste in music and using drugs or drinking together contribute to a sense of community and camaraderie, but many drugs also produce side effects that may enhance social interactions.

People tend to form peer groups with those who share their preferences, which may be symbolized through music and drugs. Although there are some obvious links between certain types of music and substances – such as electronic music and ecstasy – there are other common links that are less obvious.

Moreover, drugs are one component of being part of a broader identity and an important way of distinguishing the group from others. While it’s important to not feed into stereotypes and harmful stigma, information concerning musicians and addiction, as well as drug preferences, is useful in targeting tailoring interventions and treatment programs.

Musicians and Addiction

Considering the sense of community and inclusion that drugs and music can both offer, stories of musicians addicted to drugs are pretty common. Many musicians are exposed to drugs and alcohol mainly because they have the money for it.

For decades, music artists have claimed that drugs like LSD, ecstasy, cocaine, and others enhance their creativity and their ability to create and perform music. Specific genres of music also come with their own cultures, which may influence the use of particular drugs. For instance, country music frequently refers to heavy drinking, so it’s uncommon for country artists and listeners to be alcohol fans.

There’s also the well-known “drugs, sex, and rock n’ roll.” Many rock musicians with drug problems were known for their excessive substance use, including members of bands like AC/DC, Metallica, Aerosmith, and more. Substance abuse was a cultural norm among these bands, and their many drug-laced antics are recorded in their music.

There’s also a matter of using drugs while listening to music to make it “sound better.” This explains music festivals, clubs, and raves in which ecstasy, LSD, and alcohol abuse are common. Many ravers and festivalgoers report that these drugs enhance their experience at these events.

Is Music a Drug?

While music and drugs are linked in that they create a sense of community and inclusion and supposedly enhance music-related experiences, many also believe that music itself is a drug. New research suggests that music creates pleasure in the same area of the brain that’s affected by opioids. This action involves the release of substances that are naturally produced by the brain that are structurally similar to opiates like heroin.

These pleasure chemicals are also released when we eat sugary foods or engage in activities like sex. In the study, 17 participants listened to music under different circumstances. One day they listened to music in the McGill University lab, and another day they did so after taking naltrexone (a medication that blocks opioid receptors and is used in opioid addiction treatment). On a separate day, they listened to music after taking an inactive placebo.1

Researchers found that when participants took naltrexone before listening to music, they reported their favorite songs were no longer as pleasurable, and there was no change in the placebo group. However, when they listened to music they didn’t have strong feelings about, the drug didn’t make a major difference.1 This shows that music can potentially impact the brain similar to certain drugs of abuse, making it a drug of sorts.

Help for Substance Abuse

Long-term drug and alcohol abuse can negatively impact a person’s physical and mental health as well as their career, relationships, and other areas of their life. However, when drugs and alcohol are paired with socializing and establishing relationships, it can be difficult to break free of them and get sober.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, our high-end rehab can help. We offer both luxury medical detox and substance-specific treatment to help people with all kinds of substance use disorders clean up and change their lives for the better.

Call Seaside Palm Beach today at 561-677-9374 for more information about our residential addiction treatment in Palm Beach and how to get started.


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