Music is a major media source that has the ability to connect people to a wide range of topics. Music often serves as a break for people to get out of their own reality for a little bit. But how common is it for there to be explicit content in our music? A 30-year study was able to find that there is increasing prevalence in the mentioning of opioids and other drugs in today’s songs. Nearly 50% of the 2016 Top 40’s songs referenced drugs or alcohol1.

The music that our children hear on a daily basis is full of references to drugs and alcohol. With a rise of overdoses seen across the country, it is inevitable that there may be a connection. Rap and pop music are not the only genres that these lyrics are found in. Many other genres also contain the same lyrics or variations of the reference. Some examples include:

  • Sicko Mode by Travis Scott: “I did half a Xan, thirteen hours ‘til I land. Had me out like a light, ayy, yeah” (Xan = Xanax)
  • Mask Off by Future: “Percocets Molly, Percocets Percocets Molly, Percocets Rep the set”
  • Sittin’ At a Bar by Rehab: “She was trippin’ on some bills. I think she was high on some pills”
  • Takin’ Pills by Pistol Annies: “Well who is gonna pay these bills. When one’s drinking, one’s smoking and one’s taking pills”
  • Be Like Me by Lil Pump: “Everybody wanna be like Pump. Everybody got fake dreads and love to take drugs”
  • Zack and Codeine by Post Malone: “I wake up, rinse my mouth with codeine”
  • Drug Ballad by Eminem: “Cause every time I go to try and leave. Something keeps pullin’ on my sleeve. I don’t wanna, but I gotta stay. These drugs really got a hold of me”

These are just a few examples from current music but we know that from decades past, this is not new. Music can be a powerful tool to escape everyday life and to find your own inspiration. The question remains; by putting substance use on a pedestal through musicality, are we causing more harm? Since we cannot control every aspect of a child’s life, it is even more important for parents to monitor the music their children listen to. Parents should also discuss substance use and abuse and addiction with their children and be open to finding answers to any questions that the child may have.

It is very important for kids to know the dangers that can come from abusing drugs and alcohol. Parents please continue to monitor what your child is reading, watching, and listening to. Stay tuned for more information in the coming months.


1. Hamba, C., Hanba, D., (2018). Opioid drug prevalence in top 40’s music: a 30 year review.  The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. September 2018, 31(5) 761-767.