However, the media may present distorted information to the public regarding drugs and drug users since it might be based on individual opinion and perception. If such information is used in the efforts to curb the abuse of drugs, success may not be accomplished.
There are various reasons why people use drugs. Some are used for medical reasons while others are used for pleasure. Those who use drugs for non medical purposes are faced with many problems ranging from health issues to social exclusion and stigmatization. Alcohol is the most commonly non medical drug used especially due to the fact that it is allowed by the law in many countries. The manufacturers sacrifice much of their resources in marketing and promotions, with the media playing a significant role in awareness creation among consumers. Different parts of the media are used to target various market segments of drug users. On the other hand, the media is also used for awareness creation in the fight against drug use. They provide substantial information to the public, which portray drugs as substances that are detrimental to the health of users. Moreover, drug use is portrayed as an antisocial behavior and therefore the users are viewed as posing a safety risk to the public, mainly due to their association with crime and violent behavior.
The manner in which the media portrays drugs and drug users is a significant in determinant of the drugs debate. The society’s perception is based on the information acquired from the media. Most parts of the media give the implication that drugs are dangerous substances that are associated with causing death, psychological disorders, violence, crime and many other antisocial behaviors. For this reason, drug users are portrayed as individuals who exhibit undesirable character in the community. Parrott et al. (2004 p 48) observes that the psychoactive drugs are mainly used for excitement but they may have adverse effects if they are consumed