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Politics of Sin - Myths:

Drug myths are not about urban myths spread by druggies - for instance, that smoking dried banana skins will get you high. Real drug myths are spread by the media. Q: What's the difference between druggie urban myths and media myths? A: No one believes druggies' urban myths but countless millions believe the lies peddles to them by the mass media.

Q: Why do the media lie so often about drugs? A: It's not that they consciously go out of their way to lie. The media report the way they do because there is so much pressure placed upon them by the authorities to be 'responsible' by sending out the 'right message' - that drug use is harmful. So the media actually regard themselves are being responsible when they lie and irresponsible when they tell the truth!

David Nutt: Why do the media always seem to side with demonstrably unsuccessful repressive policies?
Mark Kleiman: Drug warriors engaged the mass media in the late 1980s and early 1990s and instigated media self-censorship and fairly deliberate propaganda. As citizens and parents, media leaders were easily led to believe that it was their job to make sure everyone knew that illegal drugs are bad. The audience for drug policy discourse is the same as the consumer base, so anything positive you say about any drug in a mass-media context may influence somebody to go out and try that drug. Nobody wants the responsibility of promoting use, so the media become very wary of saying anything positive about any illicit drug, or anything against prohibition or its enforcement.
Source: 25 October 2004 at a Beckley Foundation seminar.


Meth Watch:


Notes:

Even non-illicit drugs are prone to misinformation and bias in media reporting. For instance, this could be due to some journalists taking a crusading stance against big-pharma.

Consider the recent scare over increased suicide-risk associated with SSRIs. Q: Are people on SSRIs more or less likely to commit suicide or is there no causal link at all? A: The truth is out there - somewhere.