The Truth About Drugs Issue 3
Not All Actors Use Drugs
Adrian Zmed is an Actor who starred in T.J. Hooker and has appeared in “Grease II,” “Bachelor Party,” “Victims for Victims” and is host of “Dance Fever.” Adrian works with Narconon™ as a Narconon Celebrity All-Star team member. He also speaks with students in schools about drugs and alcohol and encourages them to find alternatives to drug use. John S. Duff, Director of Drug Education for Narconon International, caught up with Adrian Zmed in his busy schedule to interview him about his career and his campaign against drugs.
Question: Why did you begin working with Narconon?
Adrian: Quite a long time ago I began to work with kids to help them start out on the right track. I felt if I could influence even one mind in the right direction it would be worth the time and effort.
My involvement in drug and alcohol education all started in an episode of T.J. Hooker which was centered around a teen-ager. I was a big brother to the teen-ager for a dying buddy of mine and I promised to look after him. The teenager turned out to be a teen-age alcoholic and I didn’t know very much about teen-age alcoholism. As I researched the facts about teen-age alcoholism I was shocked. I became involved with the National Council on Alcoholism and now serve on its board of directors.
Question: Did you use drugs when you were in high school?
Adrian: It was certainly all around me. I grew up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the inner city of Chicago, Illinois where you only survived if you ran fast or knew all the war counselors of the gangs. But I had a good sense of self-worth and self-esteem and if you like yourself you don’t go around putting lousy junkie things in your body–like drugs and alcohol. I loved to play football and play music in rock bands. As I went from band to band in high school, people began to realize that I was not going to use drugs and they didn’t bother me about it. I gained some local success in a band by the name of Ephrus as a lead singer and drummer. In one battle of the bands we came in second to a group named The Tradewinds, who later changed their name to Styx. I really enjoyed playing rock at high school dances, singing, wailing and jumping off amplifiers, feeling the music and electricity of it were completely and totally a natural high in itself.
Question: What role can the entertainment industry play in trying to do something about the drug problem?
Adrian: Actors and athletes are in the public eye and anything related to drugs and alcohol they’re involved in is splashed all over the papers, the eleven o’ clock news, and in magazines. We don’t hear enough about those celebrities that do not use drugs. Of course playing celebrity softball for the Narconon All-Stars give celebrities who don’t use drugs a chance to speak up about not using drugs. Why don’t they put the Steve Garvey’s on the front of magazines and newspapers saying “he doesn’t use drugs.” My four-year-old son loves baseball and if he looks up to a Steve Howe, what will happen if later he finds out that Steve Howe uses drugs. The Dodgers gave Steve Howe another chance, but he got caught again and again; now when Steve Howe has really cleaned up we stop hearing about him in the press. This is a very bad situation for our children.
I think the entertainment industry subtly has contributed to alcohol and drug abuse. Characters in the different television shows shown drinking alcohol are not saying people should drink, but the example that is being set is not a good one. When I was doing T. J. Hooker, one of the police hangouts was a bar. Once I became educated on the magnitude often-age alcoholism in my second year of T. J. Hooker, my character, Vince Romano, stopped drinking alcohol at my request.
Question: What projects are you currently working on?
Adrian: I have a television movie that I wrote based on the whale that went the wrong way up the San Francisco channel. I acquired the rights to it from the two marine biologists there. I also wrote a television pilot based on people I knew in Chicago when I was growing up.
Question: Do you have any message for teen-agers?
Adrian: This may sound simple, but first I think teen-agers need to get educated about drugs and the many alternatives they have to feeling good without drugs.
Teen-agers will be offered drugs and it is true that they may like some of the effects, but the effects will wear off quickly and the person will not end up feeling good. Drugs are temporary and everything I’ve done in life is permanent. I know that natural highs are by far more fun.
This newspaper printed with a grant from: Palos Verdes Junior Woman’s Club