‘Codeine crazy:’ a content analysis of prescription drug references in popular music

Bridgette Peteet, Christopher Roundtree, Shapree Dixon, Cami Mosley, Brittany Miller-Roenigk, Joseph White, Mindy Bediako, Anthony Hitch, Caravella McCuistian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Prescription drug misuse (PDM) is a national problem in the U.S., particularly effecting youth ages 16–25. Drug-related messages in music are one known predictor of substance use for this population. Research suggests that racial/ethnic minority youth are less likely to engage in PDM; however, the prevalence of PDM references in rap music may better reflect emerging drug trends. This study examined changes in the frequency of references to PDM in rap lyrics in the top 25 songs in 2007 and 2017, using targets identified from a generated list of 235 slang terms for PDM. The lyrics for each song were obtained from Genius, a social media site with lyric annotations. Coders independently identified the target stanzas and a third member of the research team corroborated the selections. Results of the General Linear Model using a Negative Binomial distribution indicated that the number of songs referencing PDM was estimated to be 18.80 times higher in 2017 than in 2007. Implications for healthcare providers are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1100-1116
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Youth Studies
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • drugs
  • ethnicity
  • media
  • music
  • Prescription drugs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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