Musicians, Drugs and Alcohol

musician substance abuseUsing controversial substances as an artist or musician is a highly debatable practice that warrants extreme caution. Substance use in the music community is a controversial matter. Some argue that certain substances, such as hallucinogens, can actually enhance the creative process of writing music, while others argue that using substances destroys the creative mind and makes it lackluster. It is an absolute certainty that abusing substances does physical and mental damage to everyone, including artists.

The jury is still out on the use of certain mild substances, but it is the question of moderation and dosage that creates complications. One can cautiously defend the use of certain substances to enhance the creative process. Even ancient cultures celebrated the use of substances such as peyote and cannabis to experience “visions” and enhance mental scope. The topic of permissible drug use is still under much scrutiny and debate in North America, as well as many other world regions. Some studies reveal that cetain hallucinogens, cannabinoids and opioids can actually increase memory and brain function. Many musicians and artists have sworn by certain substances to inspire their creative work.

Because musicians often have a true need to experiment and to find ways of coping with strong emotions, substance abuse seems like a remedy but proves to ultimately be a hindrance. The strongest reasons to oppose substance use in musicians is the problem of addiction and mental disorders. It is a blurred line where substance use becomes substance abuse, but it can be certain that substance abuse is very prevalent in the music community. The high functioning yet emotional brains of musicians seek ways of learning through experimentation and coping with strong emotions. Music fills this need in a healthy, permanent way, while substance abuse fills this need in a hollow, unhealthy way. Substance abuse is like an instant gratification for the brain of a musician in place of the life purpose that their brain is actually wired for. Substance abuse is unsustainable and results in addiction and mental disorders in musicians.