Thursday, 25 February 2010

Why tragic things like this may happen...

I wonder if you'll agree with me on where I find a problem with this introduction.

The story is most certainly one that should be told, a poor girl got trapped addicted to heroin. In a brief moment of clarity she wrote a letter declaring herself clean, but sadly died from an overdose a mere 3 weeks later. Read the full article here.

The reporting itself is usual metro quality, so too badly written to be particularly offensive. What I really take issue with is the linking between ecstasy and heroin in this regard. Don't get me wrong, I would agree that there is probably a causal link, but those that take ecstasy to not immediately (or indeed ever in most cases) become heroin addicts.

See this link I think is actually completely counter productive. Ecstasy and variant drugs are relatively easy to come by, so some people will find themselves in a position where they can experiment. After experimenting and finding the whole experience to be quite different, but no more severe, to being drunk, they will probably wonder what all the fuss was about.

Now imagine that someone who has taken ecstasy, and has seen ecstasy and heroin conflated in this way, now finds themselves in a position where they can experiment with heroin.
'well ecstasy wasn't so bad,' the thought process may go 'so maybe the media are exaggerating with this too.'
Except they're not. Heroin is horrible (I've not tried it, but I've seen the results), it's incredibly good at making your problems go away, and it's highly physically addictive. A perfect storm for stealing the life of a young person with problems.

Add to this the insane classification system that considers just about any drug more potent than cannabis (with the exception of the taxed drugs) a class A, and what genuine messages are we giving out about the relative dangers of heroin compared to other drugs? None. Including ecstasy use so prominently in a story like this, only serves to exacerbate the problems.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not surprised by The Metro's way of reporting this tragedy, it's disgusting!

    What I take issue with, apart from your point about them linking ecstasy & heroin, is the whole way the general press/media report drugs... they tend to put all 'illegal' drugs in the same box! I would more forgiving if all drugs were considered in the same way,eg just think about the huge damage both alcohol & tobacco (legal drugs) cause!