Sunday, July 25, 2010

Media still spreading drug war myths

An otherwise creditable report by Asher Moses in The Sydney Morning Herald spreads one of the most blatant Reefer Madness style lies of recent times.

In a story detailing how the 'legal high' industry is using the internet and innovation to get around prohibitionist intervention, Moses wrote:
The Wall Street Journal reported that the so-called "legal highs" had been blamed for the deaths of two young people in Britain and Sweden and British authorities said they may have contributed to as many as 30 deaths.
This referred to Mephedrone, (Cat or Miaow), a derivative of the mild social stimulant Khat that is taken daily in North African countries but banned in the west.

However a Sky News report by China Correspondent Holly Williams said this:
Mephedrone hit the headlines in March after the drug was linked to the deaths of two teenagers in Scunthorpe. However, post mortems revealed no trace of the chemical in the blood of Louis Wainwright, 18, and Nicholas Smith, 19.

The original reports were part of the prohibitionist spin accompanying the UK's recent mephedrone ban and follows precisely the same pattern as the famous Reefer Madness propaganda film that demonised marihuana back in the 1930s in support of its prohibition. The movie is so inaccurate and over the top that it is now viewed as comedy.

Asher Moses' story is otherwise balanced and accurate. At least he bothered to get a comment from outside the prohibitionist enclave, quoting Dr Alex Wodak thus:
For me this is just another illustration of the futility of drug prohibition ... and if criminalising drugs hasn't worked, what you need to do is treat drugs as a health and social phenomenon," he said. 
Prohibitionists still rely on gross dishonesty to maintain the credibility of their ideology. But, hopefully, one day 'truth will out', and more journalists will learn to recognise their spin.

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