Does Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Encourage or Discourage Drug Use?

Hunter S. Thompson’s wild drug-induced tale Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas presents both the thrill and horror of drug use, but does it encourage or discourage it? The wild scenes in Sin City are often more uncomfortable, strange, and terrifying than they are romantic and idealizing. A child may watch the film adaptation of the novel and be afraid of the wild and wacky shenanigans that unfold rather than want to take part in them. This also begs the larger question: does media contribute to drug and alcohol misuse?  


Thompson’s novel, however, doesn’t depict the end result of copious drug and alcohol use– which is the inevitable treatment at a drug rehab center. Thompson himself was a drug enthusiast that didn’t go to rehab, but ended up killing himself at age 57. That detail in itself is also a discouragement from drug use, but it remains to be seen if his work, and the work of other writers and filmmakers, are contributors to the increasing addiction epidemic in the United States.


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A study on whether alcohol depiction in media promotes drinking was inconclusive. The portrayals of such behavior, however, was largely positive and rarely showed the consequences of drinking and using drugs. So, if you take into account Fear and Loathing, then it would contribute to drug and alcohol use the same way every other book and movie does, which is a mixed bag.


Those which glorify drug use and drinking would have an ostensibly negative effect on those who enjoy the media, but Thompson’s classic doesn’t necessarily glorify using drugs and drinking the way you might think. The seedy nature of the story may not only convince kids that drugs are scary, children aren’t supposed to be reading or watching that kind of content in the first place. As for adults, they have developed a better judgment and would not be as affected by media. They would do drugs or drink already if they were already engaged in this kind of behavior. Not only does Thompson’s book show the bizarre horrors of “bad trips” and other negative experiences surrounding drugs, it wouldn’t have as much of an effect on older readers and viewers. Still, it remains true that we shouldn’t idolize or glorify drug use, there is no need to put more people in danger of addiction.

If you or anyone you know is addicted to drugs or alcohol, please call American Drug Testing Centers today to set up a consultation at one of our addiction recovery clinics. Don’t wait, help is available.

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