Should Musicians Be Drug Tested?

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Megan Draghi
Staff Writer

Terry Richardson
Photo: Terry Richardson

With common knowledge brought on by ongoing media reports on the use of steroids and its effects, we have come to expect that professional athletes will get drug tested for the use of steroids or other enhancement drugs to make sure any sporting event is being played fairly. Drug testing is also fully accepted by college athletes. Certain jobs, such as the banking industry, also expect employees to take drug tests before being hired in order to guarantee that each employee will give their full potential to their company. If certain jobs and participating in sports teams require drug tests, why aren’t they required of entertainers, especially musical performers? What puts celebrities above the rest of us?

When rapper Lil Wayne was rushed to the hospital for reported seizures on Friday, March 14, it left his fans curious about the cause behind the situation when they reached out to Lil Wayne on Twitter.

According to MTV News, seizures can be accidentally stimulated by a concoction called “syrup, the name of a concoction of prescription-strength codeine cough syrup and a soft drink.” This is also referred commonly as “lean” or “sizzurp,” which leads to euphoric mental capacities. This simply means that the person who has “sizzurp” goes on “trips” as one on ecstasy or marijuana would have. Lil Wayne has admitted to using this drug before.

Lil Wayne’s website indicates that he has concert tours in Europe scheduled throughout the next few weeks. Because of his most recent seizure, his last one occurred in October, his concerts have without a doubt been cancelled until his recovery. This not only makes his fans feel concerned for his health, but disappointed about the cancellations.

With the thoughts of Lil Wayne’s seizures being possibly stimulated by his drug use and his fans being disappointed from not being able to go to his concert, the question comes back into mind, should musicians be drug tested?

It is no secret many musicians have overindulged in drugs or alcohol. Whether it was the Beatles or Amy Winehouse, most musicians have easy access to endless drugs and alcohol because of their wealth. Yet, just like any other person, a musician will be affected by drugs and the effects are always negative.

When a musician is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will not perform to the best of their abilities for their audience. If a famous football player plays a football game under the influence of drugs or alcohol, fans would be angry that the athlete is getting paid millions of dollars to not do what he is expected to accomplish. If an athlete is caught doing drugs, they run the risk of being on probation, suspended for multiple games, or even suspended from their league.

In order for famous athletes to not fall into the path of drugs and alcohol as well as achieve maximum performance, drug testing is routine for professional sports leagues. This way, fans are getting what they are paying to see.

According to ABC News, the average concert ticket for the first half of 2012 was $46.69. With expensive prices, fans are entitled to the best performance possible. If a fan paid around $50 to see a performance and it was terrible or even cancelled because of the musician being under the influence of drugs, I personally would be upset.

Drug testing of musicians before concert performances is one way to minimize this disappointment of fans. If musicians were required to undergo drug tests and face somewhat the same repercussions of professional athletes for failing them, there would be public repercussions for their drug usage. Drug testing will also have musicians behave better, knowing that failing a drug test will get in the way of their performance. Performing at their best is a simple but heartfelt way to show respect for their fans; the people who put the musician where they are today.

Kelly Urbonas, a sophomore Criminal Justice major says, “I think it will keep them on the right track to recovery.”

Catiana Pereira, a freshman Childhood Education major says, “If musicians get drug tested I hope they’ll give the best of their abilities. I think that it will probably work out if they get drug tested because they’re going to want to continue performing.”

I believe that drug testing musicians would not only improve their performances but improve the music industry all together. When I see that a musician is using a lot of different drugs during performances, it makes me not want to go to the musician’s concert or even buy their work on iTunes. It shows that drugs come first to them and I don’t believe that the drugs should come close to being first in their life. It should be the fans, the people who are paying them to perform.

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