Date of Award

Spring 2024

Degree Type



Biological Sciences

Director of Thesis

Dr. April South

Second Reader

Dr. Eilea Knotts


The research that was conducted aimed to elicit the influence that pop culture has on recreational drug consumption. Specifically, the usage of the drug codeine has become very popular in social media among many influencers. The research focuses on the prevalence of this drug across several media platforms, alongside the growing rate of consumption globally. Research was conducted primarily through combining various databases at various organizations and this study aims to compile the data into one coherent paper regarding codeine in pop culture. While, it cannot be solely attributed to one specific outlet or influence, this study found that alongside the growing opioid crisis, specifically with codeine, the prevalence of references to codeine and many other opioids has exponentially increased over the past three decades and could have played a large role in the desensitized viewpoint of the drug. All in all, this study shows the power that pop culture and media play in the way that certain drugs are used and can even lead to increased likelihood of recreational consumption.

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© 2024, Rhett C. Vaughn