About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1968-1971
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain


M. Murtagh

Frostburg State University (UNITED STATES)
Although learning is something done naturally from birth, for many students learning in the classroom has come to be experienced as a chore. Thus stimulating the students’ interest in the topic, and presenting the material in a manner such that the students not only understands it but can emotionally relate to it as well, is essential for the success of any course. This paper focuses on the use of nine songs across four topic areas in the teaching of Addiction Issues. (Note: The actual paper goes into the details of the songs and how to specifically use them in teaching).

Strength of Addiction:
Perhaps one of the most critical areas for students to learn in addictions is the raw power of the addiction itself. For some, the extreme difficulties in breaking an addition are hard to fathom. Indeed, how often has the following question been asked: “They are losing everything that has ever been important to them, why don’t they just stop using?” The song “Cold Turkey” (written and performed by John Lennon) is very helpful in communicating the desperation many addicts feel when they are attempting to give up heroin.

What Should and Should not be Legal:
What substances should or should not be legal is an area of debate across many societies around the world. In American classrooms, this often comes up in the discussion of marijuana. It is important to explore what are the actual effects of marijuana (both short-term and long-term) and whether the concept of a gateway drug is or is not accurate. The song “Illegal Smile” (written and performed by John Prine) is a great way to kick off this topic.

Individual Substances:
“From the Inside” (written by Cooper/Taupin/Wagner/Foster and performed by Alice Cooper) is an excellent song to stimulate conversation about alcohol use and alcoholism. It is important for the instructor to understand the background of this song, specifically of Alice Cooper’s having been hospitalized for his alcoholism in the late 1970’s.
Though the song is a bit dated, “Mother’s Little Helper” (written by Jagger/Richards and performed by The Rolling Stones) is useful in launching a discussion of the use and misuse of any of the anxiolytics.
“Cocaine Blues” (written by: T.J. Arnall and performed by Johnny Cash) can help the discussion of how cocaine use leads to impaired judgment and paranoia, and and may result in behaviors that can have terrible consequences.
“Sam Stone” (written and performed by John Prine) illustrates the ramifications of a heroin addiction on an injured war veteran. Though released in 1972, this song remains just as potent today as it was back then.
“White Rabbit” (written by Grace Slick and performed by Jefferson Airplane) is a relatively light song which sets the stage for discussions on hallucinogens. It is important for the instructor to have an understanding of the book Alice in Wonderland.

Overall Effect:
Pulling together many of the themes from an addictions course, “Cocaine (We’re All Going to Hell)” (written by Chanchanian/Robison/Victorino/Hernandez/Williams and performed by Strata) is intense, and a bit disturbing. This can initiate a powerful discussion that includes elements of cocaine and alcohol abuse, but more importantly the actual ramifications of an addiction.
author = {Murtagh, M.},
series = {2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-2953-3},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {1968-1971}}
AU - M. Murtagh
SN - 978-84-613-2953-3/2340-1095
PY - 2009
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2009
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2009 Proceedings
SP - 1968
EP - 1971
ER -
M. Murtagh (2009) USING MUSIC IN TEACHING ADDICTION ISSUES, ICERI2009 Proceedings, pp. 1968-1971.