Wednesday, 6 May 2009

CourierMail - The Media Scourge


The CourierMail is currently running a scare fest on drugs in Queensland titled, “The Drugs Scourge” . Being a News Ltd owned newspaper, you wouldn’t expect much in the way of rationality and accuracy yet I must say I was really surprised. Really surprised because it was even worse than I imagined. It’s like they have taken the worst from A Current Affair/Today, had it rewritten by Piers Akerman, Chris Pyne and Bronwyn Bishop and then edited by John Howard. It’s a shocker!

One of the glaring over dramatisations is the effects of ecstasy on Queensland society. Shocking headlines like “Bad Ecstasy Trip Is Agony” and “Drug-Fuelled Revellers Rife” conveniently mix up heavy methamphetamine use with casual ecstasy use creating a modern day “Reefer Madness” but with amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS).

The Queensland club scene is described as some sort of post apocalyptic alternative future where a drug crazed youth are MDMA zombies. Where an epidemic of “Party Drugs” is wiping out an entire generation. Where our innocent kids are being reeled into a life of drug addiction where carnage and death are the inevitable results. Out of dozens of articles though, there is only a single report on whether current drug policies are working.

Watch as channel nine’s Sarah Harris and Lisa Wilkinson report on the CourierMail’s investigation called, The Drugs Scourge! Warning: This is not a comedy skit.




Where do I start? Maybe with the main cause of harm from ecstasy ... prohibition. They are right by saying that ecstasy pills are full of unwanted ingredients but this is purely because they are illegal. And as the serious looking Sarah Harris explains, 10 people have died from PMA in ecstasy over the last 10 years ... a pretty good record really considering millions of doses are taken annually. Why didn’t she say “only” 10 people have died? They keep mentioning that unknown ingredients or dangerous contaminants are the real danger but where was the call for pill testing or regulating MDMA sales? I suppose common sense doesn’t rate very well.

Glossing over the differences between amphetamines and ecstasy is just as deceitful. Although they come from the same class, they are very different drugs and share almost none of the same levels of harm. Abusing amphetamines can be very dangerous but most users do so recreationally. Some fact checking will show that amphetamines are not actually addictive at all but can cause dependancy. Stating that 33% of first time users become addicted is just not true. No drug known to man is instantly addictive.
They see their mate take one and nothing happens, they take one themselves and nothing happens and all of a sudden, they’re hooked. 
-Dr. Bob Hoskins. Queensland Health
Is this how the public source their information about drugs? No wonder there is no rational debate in parliament about our drug laws with much of the population completely ignorant to facts. The role of the media has to be called into question over this. Not just the hysterical trash reporting but the lack of critical analysis from other media outlets. The CourierMail’s report is ripe for being pulled apart and exposed as misleading and often untruthful but I am yet to find one article disputing the legitimacy of the report. But it’s not just the reporting that is full of misinformation but some of the so called “experts” who are happy to add their own interpretation of the truth.
You wouldn't give it to your dog let alone take it yourself [...] Look, it's a drug, it can be abused. I think you could never safely administer it.
-Detective Kerry Johnson - State Drug Investigation Unit
Is anything more annoying than a condescending reporter who knows stuff all about what they are saying? Apart from having to sit through the clip’s entirety, not much. Even the detective with his fanciful connections between casual ecstasy use and 25 years in jail doesn’t compare. I dare say that this clip is going into the drug propaganda archives along with Reefer Madness.
You think about it, here you are, come from a good family, a good upbringing, great surrounds, you've got no reason why and suddendly you're facing court on drug trafficking. You're going to loose your liberty for a long time and probably very little sympathy from us too.
-Detective Kerry Johnson - State Drug Investigation Unit
Asset seizures, 25 years in jail, loss of liberty... this is what will happen if you start giving ecstasy to your friends says Detective Kerry Johnson. LOL. But his bizarre warning backed up with “probably very little sympathy from us” is when it becomes disturbing. He paints a gloomy picture but it is exactly what the Courier-Mail wanted - doom and gloom. But the figures don’t add up. With tens of thousands of weekend users and well over 10 million ecstasy pills dropped each year, there is very little evidence of the carnage portrayed by The CourierMail and Detective Johnson.
Continually time and again we see it escalates from, I just take the odd pill at a party or a rave night or whatever it might be, to, I only supply my 2-3 friends and that might pay for my pill and that sort of deal is pretty harmless. The amount of time it escalates to the level where all of sudden their in the organised crime area, they're selling quite a lot of pills, they're getting themselves into debt trying to maintain a lifestyle. Next thing you know they're facing a charge from us, let alone the 25 years imprisonment for trafficking, you're also then looking at the case of significant asset seizure through restraints, proceeds of crime legislation.
-Detective Kerry Johnson - State Drug Investigation Unit
What really scares me is the zest to portray ecstasy as some new terrifying drug that has sent society into a never ending tail spin of chaos and despair. The zest of Detective Kerry Johnson to catch ecstasy users and dealers with the goal of ruining their lives as much as possible. The zest to scare parents and the public into a stupor of fear and worry. And for what? A drug that is rated by experts as much, much less harmful than alcohol?

Is the Truth Important?
Like all good trashy journalism, an appropriate headline is essential. Drugs menace uncovered, How addiction leads to jail, Bad ecstasy trip is agony, Drug users' Russian roulette, Drug-fuelled revellers rife, Ecstasy's deadly cocktail, Mail system delivers death and more. I suppose some balanced reporting is out of the question. Maybe something along the lines of Ecstasy found to be much safer than alcohol, UK Government report recommends lowering ecstasy danger rating, Alcohol causing more problems than all illicit drugs combined, Expert groups want cannabis legalised, Government ignores their own scientific report on drugs, Politician admits he inhaled and enjoyed it etc. Some examples of the what the CourierMail calls the truth:
Safe injecting rooms have been tried. Heroin trials have been conducted. Everything from decriminalisation to including drug education in school curriculums has been discussed.
-We need a leader for drugs battle
Heroin trials have been conducted - that’s news to me. Safe injecting rooms have been tried - this is past tense. They mean to say, a safe injecting room is being successfully operated in NSW. Decriminalisation being discussed? Several states have decriminalised cannabis for personal use already but it has certainly not been seriously discussed by the federal government. The Greens have shown that the 2 major political parties are not ready for any discussion on drug policy alternatives like decriminalisation. When the Greens suggested Australia consider decriminalisation they were abused and scoffed at as radical weirdoes by Labor and The Libs.
DRUGS are the No. 1 risk young people face and the Federal Government's focus on binge drinking means it is missing the problem, a Liberal MP and former adviser to John Howard has warned.
-Booze focus misses top risk of drugs, says Jamie Briggs
Drugs are NOT the number one problem. That’s just wishful thinking from the media and conservative politicians.
It is ecstasy, of all amphetamines, that shapes as the timebomb. One in four Australians aged 20-29 has tried the drug – and numbers are escalating each year.
-Drug trade's tragic toll and institutional ignorance revealed
When the facts are against you, it’s best to play on the unknown. The illusion of a future drug crazed nation is standard fare for the media because in reality it never actually happens. One in four(20-29) might have tried ecstasy but those that have problems with it are negligible. The only option left for an excited journalist is to use ridiculous comments like this ... “It is ecstasy, of all amphetamines, that shapes as the timebomb”. hehehehe. The writer, Matthew Fynes-Clinton and the CourierMail have hit new depths of deception and silliness.

Murdoch and His Trash Media Empire
In this age of information, how can a major media outlet like the CourierMail produce so much bullshit? Is this acceptable for an advanced society? Where is the scrutiny from the media or why isn’t there some authority questioning the legitimacy of this crap? If the subject was different like diabetics or mental health, I’m sure there would be an uproar. Is it because the CourierMail are playing along with the views of the 2 major political parties or because the public accept these distorted articles as factual?

We can no longer criticise the English Tabloids or Fox News in the US for being biased, sensationalist and trash media when we have the equivalent like the CourierMail, Daily Telegraph, HeraldSun etc. We do however have to take some of the blame as we are the country that produced the owner of all this trash media. The worst of the English Tabloids, Fox News and Australia’s News Ltd newspapers are all owned by former Australian, Rupert Murdoch.

Related Articles:
Ice - More Drug Myths
AMA Pushing Zero Tolerance (Ice - More Drug Myths Pt II)
Top Drug Advisor - Ecstasy is Safe as Riding a Horse


10 comments:

rougevert said...

Hi,

Can't watch the video - "this video is private" comes up, seems like I have to be your YouTube "friend". Is it possible for you to unprivatise it?

I have been reading this site for a while and and I think that the work you are doing is extremely valuable.

Regards,

YSM

Terry Wright said...

Thanks for the compliment, YSM.

Good feedback is always welcome.

Also, the video is now fixed.

editor said...

From: editor@2010homelesschampions.ca

THE R.A.A.S.T.A. MANIFESTO

Recovering Addicts against Supporting Terminal Addiction
We Believe That The Many Resources Available In The Dtes Today Do Nothing More Than Support Addiction!
If That Were Not True, Then Why Do You Have More Financial Support For Addiction Than Recovery? Why Is There No Support For Detox Services, When The Estimated Number Of Addicts In The Dtes Is Some Ten Thousand, And There Are Only 200 Hundred Detox
Beds Available?
The Carnegie Center
Has The Largest Open Drug Market In North America And Is Supported By Many Different Foundations.
There Are Over 200 Hundred Carnegie Centers Throughout The World And Not One Of Them Has The Reputation That Ours Has. It Has Been Estimated That Over 2000 Drug Transactions Take Place On The Very Doorstep Of This Building Daily. Who Cares? We Do!
We Are A Group Of Recovered Addicts That Want To Put Pressure On The City, The Police, And The Government To Put A Stop To This Building And Its Flagrant Abuse Of The Carnegie Foundation andLegacy.

United We Can
This Building Is Probably The Worst Example Of Abuse Of Any I’ve Seen. Everyday Men And Women Will Scour The Bins, Garbage Cans, Etc Of East Vancouver; Only To End Up Back On The Hasting Street Locale, To Exchange Bottles For Cash, Walk Out The Back Door And Be Met By A Drug Dealer, To Spend What Takes Hours And Hours Of Digging Through Garbage To Earn. The Physical Condition Of These Men And Woman Is Bankrupt! They Are Only Steps Away From Death, Their Health Is Poor, They Are Being Motivated By Addiction Not The Ecosystem, And I Have Seen The Lineups, They Can Be Quite Festive As Friends Gather Together To Tell Stories Of A Nights Work. Most Of These Poor Lost Souls Earn 20 T0 40 Dollars For Their Evenings Labor, But It Is Instant Fast Cash. They Are Infected And Disease Ridden! What A Sad State!
To Us This Is Unacceptable!
The United We Can Foundation And All Its Supporters Should Be Ashamed.
Supporting Terminal Addiction Is Not A Good Cause
Insite
Is Next On The List. The Money That Is Spent To Keep These Doors Open Is Justified I'll Agree On The Point Of Saving Lives, But In The End How Many Times Would They Allow An Overdose In Their Facility To Happen For A Repeat Offender? The Fire And Ambulance Service Is Stressed To The Max! In General This Building Keeps Them Very Busy.

The One Real Question I Have For The City, The Police, The Carnegie, The Government, The Insite Supporters, The United We Can Store: Is Why Are You Supporting Not Only Addiction, But Why Are You Supporting Drug Dealers? The Ones That Make There Trade In Front Of These Services Are Ruthless, They Have Been Given A Green Light By Each And Every One Of You And Your Sponsors! They Seem To Be Doing Quite Well. They Have Generated 10.000 Customers Right Under Your Noses And No One Seems To Care!
Supporting Terminal Addiction Is Alive And Well In Vancouver And I.M Sick Of It.
The Methadone Program Is As We Speak Creating A Whole New Generation Of Opiate Dependency The Government Junkies Slash Methadone Zombies Are Just Starting To Amass The Support Of This Form Of Terminal Addiction Is The Worst Of Its Kind The Overall Program Is Corrupt The Kickbacks ,The Pharmacies Themselves Can Do What They Want!
They Are Out Of Control!
If You Think That These Services Are Helpful Then Just Ask Any Twenty Year Veteran Of The Dtes How He Or She Feels About Themselves Today, And The Answer Will Be Universal. They Wish They Had A Better Chance At Life, But Now They Are Addicted Till Death! Thus Terminal Addiction This Is What You Served Them, A Huge Plate Of Enablement And You Better Hope Your Children Or Grandchildren Don't Get A Taste Because The System Or The Machine Is Well Oiled And Organized And Alive And It's Eating Mothers, Fathers, Brothers, Sisters Etc. As Fast As It Can .
We At RAASTA Are Just Beginning To Organize. You Will Hear From Us Again I Promise You!
The Resources We Have Available Are The Same As Yours But We Are Coming From A Different Perspective.
Not Terminal Addiction: But A Life Free From Addiction Of Any Kind!
If What We Do On Behalf Of These Our Brothers And Sisters In The Dtes Will Save Just One From Terminal Addiction Our Cause Is Just And We Can Sleep One More Night, But We Are Not Going To Stand By And Allow This Slaughter To Happen Under Our Noses Any Longer!

The Killing Fields Or Death Sentence As We Know It, The Existence And Support Of Terminal Addiction Has To Be Stopped!
We Feel The Place To Start Is With Detox On Demand!
Not Waiting A Week!
If We Accomplish This One Goal We Will Feel We Have Made A Small Dent Into The Worst Addiction Problem In North America

Terry Wright said...

Thanks editor for supplying your whole doctrine. A few paragraphs would have done.

Your organisation sounds like a group of interfering, self righteous try-hards. Just because you don't agree with substitution treatment you want to make life hard for those millions of addicts it has helped.

From a look at your website, your not going far.

Now FUCK OFF!

editor said...

HEY TERRY no name calling ok ok hullo hullo. Thanks for the curse you seem to be very emotional.Any how i was addicted for 25 years been clean now for 7 learned a few things on the way my web site is about our city, my manifesto is both mine and my friends belief. today and for the last five years iv'e ran a recovery house, i have 23 videos on your very own country's web forum vidz.au check it out there under the name phatpooch. no more name calling you self righteous roo humper http://www.vidz.com.au/videos

Terry Wright said...

Editor said: "Any how i was addicted for 25 years been clean now for 7 learned a few things on the way my web site is about our city, my manifesto is both mine and my friends belief."

[GRAMMAR ... PLEASE!!!]

You said it Ed! It's yours and your friends belief ONLY.

It's just arrogant, preaching to the world that those who choose substitution treatment like methadone, buprenorphine etc. or those who recommend them are misguided and wrong. It's your way or no way. It sounds a lot like those mad menacing anti-methadone mothers at HARMD or MAMA.

It's funny how those who strongly support substitution treatment also support abstinence treatments but those who strongly support abstinence treatment usually dismiss substitution treatment as evil. Methadone has helped an innumerable amount of addicts.

What people like you seem to forget is that addicts will never recover if they are not 100% ready. Simply throwing someone into abstinence treatment usually results in relapse. The issue is extremely complex and simple solutions never work.

I feel, the more treatments the better. There should be much more money spent on addiction treatment which could be raised by removing most of the punitive procedures. There should be prescription heroin, Slow Release Oral Morphine (SROM), more treatment centres, more rehabs, more detox's, more faith based initiatives, much more accommodation, country residences and 24/7 professional help. All addiction treatment should all be free and all drug use should be decriminalised. Drug education should be taught in primary school and anti-drug campaigns should be honest and based on Harm Minimisation. Criticising and removing some treatments is just limiting the options available.

BTW, don't knock what you haven't tried ... roo humping can be fun! Just remember they like a bit of foreplay first especially long passionate kisses. Just close your eyes and think the moose you share your bed with.

editor said...

HEY GUYS I'ts me again unless you live in this town and see what i see you shouldn't throw stones if anything works i'm all for it. The services that are available here in my city are unreal, we have the highest concentration of addicts in all of northamerica we have thee best support services any where, and they are not working. People here become addicted until death it is not pretty.I know people who have been on methadone for 20 years if you think that's ok good for you, most people here use methadone to get high i don't agree with this policy people can get drugs in our city at a thousand different places at any given time, the police force announced that they will no longer charge people for posseion of herion crack etc and this is the tip of the ice burg.On another note i never new that roo's could be so passionate by your description it would seem you've got one up on the greeks and goats Sorry about the grammar ok ok

Terry Wright said...

Editor
You sound disappointed that the police aren't going to arrest addicts for possession of small amounts for personal use. I fail to see how arresting addicts is going to help them?

DTES is only one of a thousand places with addicts. It sounds more like you need specialise strategies like prescription heroin and more safe injection centres. The problem with DTES is that drugs are readily available there. If drugs were legalised, it may stop attracting so many addicts.

Your suggestion that opioid substitution treatment(OST) should be dumped for abstinence only treatments is just trying to force your views on others who have had great success with OST. Check out A.T. Watchdog.

BTW, why do Canadian blow up dolls have antlers?

editor said...

Hey we thought you forgot about us, you know something I've had a lot of time to reflect over the last seven years about the horror's i went through in my addiction.There's not a day goes by that i don't think about it.I realize drugs and addiction are not going away to soon.I agree with treatment i agree with a lot of the mainstream programs that are available in general.The main reason i started my correspondence with you and many others is to bring attention to what i see as addiction out of control and being fed and enabled like you never seen, when i say to you we have the worst per capital addiction problem in northamerica i'm trying to relate the fate of a new generation of lost souls who will have a life not unlike mine but even worse it's sad, and if you have the impression that i don't care your wrong i spend countless hours doing outreach offering both hope and direction to those who still suffer, my motives are pure i care i'm frustrated and i would like to make a difference being legalistic angry or high and mighty would not be effective in the work i do.If i can make a difference in one life today it gives me hope for tommorow this video link is of a friend of mine who was addicted for over thirtyyears, today he's five years clean and sober in the end all i could do as a friend was to stand beside him and let him know i care http://www.video.ca/video.php?id=153836422 ON ANOTHER NOTE THE REASON THEY HAVE ANTLERS IS SO WE HAVE SOMETHING TO HANG ONTO, OK THE REASON FEMALE ROO'S HAVE A POUCH IS NOT FOR THE JOEY IT'S SO THEY CAN CARRY CHANGE TO BREAK A FIVER

Anonymous said...

I am reading this article second time today, you have to be more careful with content leakers. If I will fount it again I will send you a link