There are more positive ways to engage an effective community response to methamphetamine

Dr Stephen Bright and Michael White from SANDAS provide a critical analysis of on Op-Ed on methamphetamine that was published in the The Advertiser that ”incites moral panic, perpetuates stigma and is loaded with emotional rhetoric and thin on evidence”. They question the ethics of editors allowing the publication of such materials and suggest that it “would be more productive for the media to focus on positive stories that show how people have overcome their problems and provide information on how to access treatment.” Continue Reading

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Search for an angle distorts discussion of drug issues (again)

Following the tragic death of a young aspiring actress, the media needed to find a scapegoat. In this case it was a man who was prescribed methadone. The only way that methadone could have contributed to the car crash is if his nearest methadone dispenser was in Nowra since he would have needed to undertake a daily 130km round trip just to access the medication. Fatigue kills – we see the police adverts and road signs, but it was not considered in this case. Paul from ReGen highlights how the under supply of methadone prescribers and dispeners in Australia could have contributed to this tragedy and dispels many myths about the medication. Continue Reading

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Where is the evidence? Crying wolf on fentanyl distracts from the real issues and prevents evidence-based policies

Paul Aiken tells the story of how a minor spike in overdoses from pharmaceutical fentanyl quickly develops into a media moral panic in which a cluster of overdoses from 2015 are presented as if they were a recent event. He notes how the panic is further fueled by stories that conflates this with the illicit importation of fentanyl as an adulterant in heroin, linking these overdoses with the so called opioid epidemic in the US. Continue Reading

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