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Heroin in the Media:

Current attitudes toward heroin use also appear to have been influenced by the drug's portrayal in rock lyrics in recent years by idolized musicians who often have histories of heroin addiction themselves. The heavy-metal band Guns 'n' Roses, for example, en- joyed significant commercial success during the early 1990s with their single "Mr. Brownstone" (the title refers to the visual appearance of some heroin), and likewise, the decade ended with the commercially successful single "Heroin Girl" by grunge rock band Everclear. "Music lyrics have described and extolled the sensational experience of heroin," suggests Ginna Marston, vice president of Partnership for a Drug-Free America, "with poetic images of heroin, of opium poppies and 'getting low,' with band names mirroring the subculture of addiction, such as Morphine, Ammonia, and Jane's Addiction perpetuating the ethos and mystique of this drug."Resistance-training advocates note that since the early 1990s, the theme of heroin use has been treated not only in popular music, but also in several other areas of the media, and they believe that this has also significantly contributed to the social pressure to use the drug.

They point, for example, to the numerous scenes of heroin use featured in movies throughout the 1990s. Notable among these films was My Own Private Idaho, in which then twenty-three-year-old actor River Phoenix depicted a hip, heroin-using, nomadic street hustler My Own Private Idaho, (Phoenix himself died of an overdose of heroin and cocaine within a year of the film's release), and The Basketball Diaries and Pulp Fiction, both of which rendered heroin as the "in" drug of the times.

The theme of heroin use was also seen in the world of high fashion when leading fashion photographer David Sorrenti created the "heroin chic" look in the mid-1990s. Sorrenti's photos of pale, anorexic, sunken-eyed models with blank stares took the fashion industry by storm, and even entered the realm of retail advertising in his Calvin Klein ads and Packard Bell computer commercials. In an effort to counter this glamorized portrayal of heroin use, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America began in 1996 to air TV commercials featuring grim images of real-life heroin addicts. When Sorrenti himself died in 1997 of a heroin overdose, President Bill Clinton criticized the fashion industry for compounding the heroin problem by glorifying heroin addiction for young people.

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