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Are America's Favorite TV Shows Introducing Children to Drug and Alcohol References?

by Britney Clayton 2 years ago in pop culture

Here’s how often substances are mentioned in streaming service original content.

Alcohol and drug mentions seem to litter the media. From songs on the radio to plot lines on television shows, substance references seem to be unavoidable. Of course, some genres and platforms are more filtered than others.

To investigate this, a recent study by Rehabs.com analyzed scripts of original content on popular streaming services. It’s no surprise that Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime all have shows that mention drugs and/or alcohol. But the prevalence of these substances may surprise you.

Netflix Is by Far the Most Substance Saturated Platform

With the highest number of total mention and average mentions per series season, Netflix beats out its competitors in drug and alcohol references. Netflix original series average about 23 references per season, compared to Hulu at an average of 12.5 and Amazon Prime at an average of 8.6.

In total, over 1,200 drug or alcohol terms were mentioned on Netflix episodes—more than double Amazon Prime’s 460. It seems that Netflix is the platform to avoid if you want your content censored. Amazon Prime offers the most family-appropriate entertainment.

'Trailer Park Boys: The Animated Series' Has the Most References

In the average Trailer Park Boys season, viewers can expect to hear over 70 mentions or drugs or alcohol. These mentions may be subtle, but they are definitely featured throughout the script. As the highest number of references of all streaming services original content, if you listen close enough, there’s likely at least one reference in every episode.

This should come as no surprise to Trailer Park Boys fans. The animated series follows a group of Canadians and their outrageous, often illegal, “super sketchy” American adventures. It’s very fitting that this show has the most substance references given that it’s plot line revolves around drunk and high happenings.

'Murder Mountain' Takes Second Place

Another Netflix original follows Trailer Park Boys with over 40 average substance references per season. This crime centered television show highlights the legal marijuana business in Humboldt County, California.

Even though it may follow legal activity, these mentions still count in exposing audiences to drugs. In fact, this series brings to light the horrifying sides of weed farms that ultimately lead to death. Just because the drugs are approved by the government does not mean the industry is harmless.

The Most Common Terms Are 'Drunk', 'Dope', and 'Weed'

Drunk and dope are tied each with 245 references on record in Netflix series. Other terms that appear on the list of top 10 are marijuana, wasted, and pills. Hulu and Amazon Prime content is much more likely to feature more G-rated terms such as ‘wine’ and ‘drinking’.

Some of these terms may seem innocent, but they can have significant effects on a viewer. They have a way of subconsciously introducing a viewer to a rebellious lifestyle. These shows, no matter how harshly characters shown using substances are portrayed, can normalize drugs and alcohol shaping the public perception.

This is especially true for adolescents. Pop culture is often how children are first introduced to these substances. Not only does the genre of content expose them to drugs and alcohol, but it can also affect their actions. For example, teens who frequently watch R-rated movies are found to be five times more likely to participate in underage drinking.

The solution to binge drinking and drug abuse is not sheltering people completely from these references. It would be an impossible task to erase all drug and alcohol mentions in the media. Instead, parents should face the issue head-on. It’s important to discuss the dangers of these substances with a child before they are introduced to them on Netflix or Hulu. This way, their first impression of smoking marijuana won’t be their favorite character’s lunch break habit.

pop culture

Britney Clayton

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Britney Clayton
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