Increase your knowledge about changing perceptions and values pertaining to psychoactive drug use in the United States.

Remember that your project should be 15-20 slides in length. The presentation can include examples of film clips (see course outline on how to include them), advertising, songs, art, etc. Remember to provide a reference for all information including images. The reference is most easily included in the notes section of the slides.
The presentation will look at the effects of media on the use and misuse of legal and/or illegal psychoactive drugs. The way in which psychoactive drugs are portrayed in the media is an expression of the cultural values and beliefs about drug use. The purpose of this project is to:

(1) Foster student expertise in the use of visual technology to examine and present a topic.

(2) Increase your knowledge about changing perceptions and values pertaining to psychoactive drug use in the United States.

(3) SAVE a graded copy of this assignment because you will need to include it in your portfolio (see course resources for information about your portfolio)


1. Select the Psychoactive Drug Select a drug or class of drugs to study. For example, you might elect to study a single drug like alcohol or tobacco, or you can pick a class of drugs like CNS depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, antidepressants, etc. Whatever drug(s) you elect to study, it must be a psychoactive agent.

2. Drug Representation Examine the way in which the drug has been represented in the media over the past 30 or more years. You should focus on interpreting what you see in the media.

3. Select the Media You can analyze the representation of the drug(s) by focusing on one type of media or you can incorporate multiple media in your analysis. For example, you might focus exclusively on films or advertising and examine the way in which alcohol use has been represented over time. Or you might examine the representation of alcohol in films, music, and print media.

4. PowerPoint This information will be used to create a dynamic PowerPoint presentation, the goal of which is to critically analyze what you see. The presentation should be between 15-20 slides in length and there should be an appropriate balance between words and images.
5. What to Address the PowerPoint presentations should clearly address all of the following:

(a) In what way has using the selected psychoactive drug been represented? Are the consequences of drug use depicted as negative (using marijuana will make you go insane) or positive (drinking burpee beer will make you popular). If the consequences are portrayed as negative, is there any indication of therapy or treatment?
(b) Have there been any changes in the way in which the drug has been portrayed over time? What are the changes?
(c) What are the possible consequences of representing a drug in a particular way?
(d) What does your textbook have to say about the drug under study?

The PowerPoint can include examples of film clips (no longer than 5 minutes per film), text, narration, songs, web sites, advertising in print media, or anything else you can think of. All examples (images, videos, audio material) must be referenced (i.e., image downloaded from NIH). It is not sufficient to say that your images were retrieved from Google, you must include the original source. Include the source directly in your slide (if it isnt too big) or in the notes section below the main body of the slide.

If you are using Microsoft PowerPoint 2013 it is very simple to embed videos into your presentation. First, click on insert. On the right side of the menu you will see a Video tab. Click on that and then select either YouTube or From Embed Code option. If you are using an older version of PPT, please review information on the following link:

You can also use Google Docs to create your presentation. Just remember to save it as a PPT file.