The Role of the Media in Amphetamine Use

The Role of the Media in Amphetamine UseAmphetamine has been available since the early 1900s and was first widely marketed as an over-the-counter cure-all for fatigue and minor depression. Later research linked the drug to damaging addiction and led to restricted availability. Today it is prescribed to treat hyperactivity or obesity under one of the following brand names:

  • Adderall
  • Dexedrine
  • Dextrostat
  • Dexosyn
  • ProCentra
  • Vyvanse

Amphetamine is also wildly popular as a street drug referred to as “speed.” Media portrayal may have a significant impact on whether or not first-time users will be induced to try this drug outside of a prescription.

Amphetamine Use in Film

Movies send mixed messages about amphetamine use. Characters who use it, either casually or due to addiction, are portrayed in one of the following ways:

  • They are weak and listless without the drug and take it to get through the day
  • They keep their use carefully controlled and secret, taking amphetamine only to give them energy to accomplish tasks for which they would otherwise be too tired, and they experience no ill effects in their lives or relationships
  • They use amphetamine as one of dozens of drugs on which they binge with momentary ill effects played for laughs but no lasting consequences in their lives
  • They are rendered destitute by their addiction and only find life and happiness after seeking sobriety
  • They are driven further into addiction and eventually die from amphetamine overdose

These portrayals send conflicting messages. Does amphetamine use create permanent damage, or can a user stop whenever he wishes and continue living a normal life? Can the user control his addiction, or does it begin to control him? Film provides no reliable answers to these questions.

Amphetamine Use on Television

Comic television commonly shows amphetamine as having the extreme opposite effect of the condition it is treating and leading patients to do tedious things such as working on advanced mathematics for hours and claiming to enjoy it. This humorous approach downplays the devastation that any addiction can have on the user and his surroundings. While reality TV often pays lip service to the detrimental effects of drug use, the seemingly pleasurable lives of the characters abusing drugs contradict this message leaving viewers confused. Celebrity rehab shows, a new genre of reality TV, portray famous drug addicts who admit their need for help, and the shows appear candid about the results in their participants’ lives. However the treatment takes place in highly artificial and often lavish environments, filling viewers with mistaken impressions of actual treatment and results.

Amphetamine in Journalism

News attention to amphetamine is overwhelmingly negative, pointing out risks such as the following:

  • Heart trouble
  • Irritability
  • Sudden, extreme weight loss
  • Memory impairment
  • Stunted growth
  • Incautious or reckless behavior

News outlets are also quick to cite examples of athletes who have died of amphetamine use or been disqualified from sporting events for using amphetamine to enhance their performance. However even journalism can present a mixed view of amphetamine, one article suggesting the drug as a potential cure for cocaine addiction and another presenting amphetamine use as unalterably bad for the addict and his entire community. In exposé-style books the use and effects of amphetamine are treated objectively, leaving the reader to form his own opinion on how detrimental the effects of the drug are.

Help for Amphetamine Addiction

For clear information about the effects of amphetamine or to find help for yourself or a friend struggling with addiction, call our toll-free helpline. We are available 24 hours a day. Call today, and let us help you find treatment and freedom from addiction.