Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Journalist's Shame

What sort of headline is Heroin Addicts Shame and what are the authors, Laurie Nowell and Evonne Barry trying to imply? It appears to be a dig at how much drug treatment for heroin addiction is costing the tax payer. The big question is why? Why criticise the number of addicts seeking treatment?

They point out that the number of prescriptions for methadone, buprenorphine and Suboxone nearly tripled from about 2.4 million in 1992 to almost seven million in 2007. Isn’t this a good trend? It appears not. The article throws around a lot of damning figures and statistics that can be interpreted several ways. The most obvious factor to me is that all attempts to stop drug use have failed. Another interpretation is that heroin use is on the rise after a lull preceded by a high that followed a low taking over from an increase from a previous dip. In other words, heroin use went up and down. I think the intention is more sinister though. Most of these figures have been reported on previously but it’s the blurring of heroin and other illicit drugs that make this article confusing. Is it really about the increase of heroin users or just a stab at all drug users. Then there’s this beauty:
Experts say Victoria's "social time bomb" will have costly effects during the next decade.
No self respecting, hysterical reporter writing about drugs would leave out a potential apocalyptic future. In what seems like an afterthought, the above line was slotted in with no reference to anything else. It just appears in a separate paragraph below some statistics on drug driving (excluding heroin) and a line stating an increase in heroin overdoses. Who are the “experts” mentioned and what is the reference point? The answer lies in a previous article by one of the authors back in August 2008, Drugs Leading Victoria To Crisis by Laurie Nowell. Maybe he assumes we read all of his articles? What it does uncover though is that Laurie Nowell has a knack for sensational stories.

For an article that is meant to shame heroin addicts, it’s strange that the authors include this quote from a pharmacist who dispenses methadone.
We have a lot of professional people . . . teachers, lawyers. It's a very wide spectrum of people. A lot of them are very decent people who have just made bad decisions and have an illness -- and addiction is an illness.
- Darryl Bason: inner-city pharmacist
Why include a comment that contradicts the headline and doesn’t support the idea that heroin addicts deserve contempt? That’s just one of several questions that needs an answer. Like, why criticise addicts seeking treatment? Why include other drugs that are declining in use? Why use drug-driving statistics that don’t include heroin? Lets use our imagination for a minute. The article was either drafted first with no idea what the point was or the authors didn’t have enough material so they added in what ever they could find or the headline was added later by a supervisor because it wasn’t going to be published or Laurie Nowell has been designated the job of sensationalising heroin. Maybe all of the above?

In an attempt to rescue a pointless article, the authors, Laurie Nowell and Evonne Barry have cruelly and publicly degraded a small section of the community who already suffer ignominy and alienation. But it seems that Laurie Nowell has a reputation for being “creative” in his reporting especially with sensitive issues. Here are some examples:
Clearly reporter Laurie Nowell made no effort to research the Mufti or didn’t care about the points listed below

I hope there is a way for Laurie Nowell to read your account and be informed. It is insulting for him to spread his tripe - does he honestly think that readers will believe his Pollyanna account of Fehmi's creed and actions. I thought journalists were supposed to look under the surface of events - he has just seen the dust on the elephant, but not described the the elephant.

Laurie Nowell should be reprimanded by the Herald Sun for his sloppy journalism.
Laurie Powell didn't even get that part right. Stories like this, don't help the mens rights and they certainly don't help Laurie Powell who doesn't mind telling a few lies to get published.
Then there was this garbage which contained lies yet again by Laurie Nowell.
How can an article with no names, dates that don’t make sense and is the most read article on the day, ever get past your editors or the authorities for that matter. Laurie Nowell might as well be making up the news.
-Comment by Reader about a Laurie Nowell article - So The False Claims Worked
LOL at "coma in a bottle", these journo's have no idea, constantly making up these bullshit slang names just to help illustrate the purpose of their shitty, shitty articles. I bet if it weren't for articles like this, half the people currently importing GBL wouldn't even know about it.
-Comment by Reader about a Laurie Nowell article - Blue Light
May I add to Barge of Brisbane's comment ... where the bloody hell does Laurie Nowell live? He obviously doesn't write from a national perspective. I reside in Denmark WA. My two 13500 litre house water tanks and about to overflow after an abundance of wet weather recently (its raining as I write) In fact much of WA has benefited from wide spread rain. Ditto Queensland and northern NSW. So did the journalist sitting in his Melbourne media headquarters just fake his story after a quick phone around? Is Nowell part of the Global Warming scare story that will benefit a few at the expense of many? A familiar pattern is developing, instill fear into the electorate that will allow Penny Wong and her ministry to institute drastic measures while pointing to questionable media items such as Nowell's to justify their actions. Is it any wonder Australians are sceptical of stories put on them by journalists and politicians ?
Laurie Nowell was even dragged into court for his “creative” reporting - Newspaper Criticised For Heroin Ship Stories

I’m not sure what input Evonne Barry contributed to the article and it may just be that since she is a health reporter for News Ltd, her name was added automatically. Maybe she provided some of the statistics or research? Either way, adding her name to such a ridiculous article will not help her credibility.

Laurie Nowell likes exciting stories as shown by his headlines. And like most Murdoch reporters, he has a job to do and papers to sell. Whether the articles are accurate or unbiased is secondary at the News Ltd money making factory. Do these headlines ring a bell?:

Maybe “Heroin Addicts Shame” is his best yet. It’s sure to resonate with HeraldSun readers and keep the public hostile towards drug addicts and users. But that’s not his problem, drug addicts are shameful remember and those seeking help are a burden on the government’s finances. He has done his job and all is good at the HeraldSun.

What ever did happened to media responsibility? What ever happened to a journalist’s integrity? Are there so many second rate media outlets now that sloppy journalist can always find a job? You can thank John Howard for our disgraceful media ownership laws where someone like Murdoch can own major newspapers in every state. It appears that infotainment is here to stay and one person’s political bias or social views can be pushed into every corner of Australia. Worst still, is the acceptance of trash media in our lives and shoddy journalists like Laurie Nowell are the source of information for millions of people. No wonder the anti-drug propaganda that started decades ago is still accepted as fact when the media continues to publish articles like “Heroin Addicts Shame”.

Heroin Addicts Shame
By Laurie Nowell and Evonne Barry
May 2009

AUSTRALIA'S escalating heroin epidemic is now costing the taxpayer $100 million a year.

There are now almost 50,000 heroin addicts receiving taxpayer-funded treatment in Australia as the illicit drug epidemic returns to a scale not seen since the 1980s.

Victoria has recorded the greatest increase in addicts of any state, with almost 12,000 - a number that has more than doubled since 1998 - and now costs the taxpayer more than $22 million for treatments.

An analysis released this week of PBS data has found the number of prescriptions for methadone and other heroin recovery drugs in Australia almost tripled from about 2.4 million in 1992 to almost seven million in 2007.

In June last year there were more than 41,000 drug addicts receiving treatment and that figure is estimated to have risen since then.

A dose of methadone costs, on average, $5 and with almost 50,000 addicts receiving one a day, the cost to the nation's health system has doubled in a decade.

The increase in addicts has accelerated since 2000, according to the study by Sydney's Drug Health Service at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the University of New South Wales.

Report author Amber Jefferson said about 27,500 - or about two-thirds of addicts being treated -- were male.

She said about 65 per cent of addicts received treatment drugs from private prescribers -- 85 per cent of them in pharmacies.

But the reality of heroin addiction did not fit the stereotype, inner-city pharmacist Darryl Bason said.

"We have a lot of professional people . . . teachers, lawyers. It's a very wide spectrum of people," Mr Bason said. "A lot of them are very decent people who have just made bad decisions and have an illness -- and addiction is an illness."

Mr Bason said about 130 people were being treated for heroin addiction at his pharmacy.

About 70 per cent of addicts were receiving methadone and the remainder the more expensive buprenorphine or buprenorphine/naloxone.

Data from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine released late last year showed Melbourne had become the nation's drug capital.

Results from the state's world-first drug-drive testing program showed an increase in drivers affected by amphetamines and cannabis.

Of drivers killed in road accidents, 15 per cent tested positive to cannabis and about 8 per cent to stimulants such as amphetamines and pseudoephedrine - figures that have tripled since 2003.

Recent tests showed one in 50 drivers randomly tested were found to have illegal drugs in their system.

And heroin overdose deaths have increased, with about 90 last year.

Experts say Victoria's "social time bomb" will have costly effects during the next decade.

Another study, comparing key police lock-ups across the country, found more than half those detained in Footscray were heroin users.

The Australian Institute of Criminology study found the next highest rate of heroin use was 15 per cent in Brisbane, then 12 per cent at Parramatta and Adelaide.

The study also found more than 73 per cent of detainees at Footscray tested positive to an illicit drug - mostly heroin or benzodiazepines (tranquillisers).

All those arrested for robbery, car theft, possession of drugs or as a result of a warrant tested positive to illegal drugs. And 80 per cent of those arrested for selling drugs were users.


marginalutility said...

Great post. I love how you put these sensationalist, asshole, ignorant journalists in their place.

Gledwood said...

He looks just like a heroin addict I know ~ face covered for shame, and yet walking around with his cock out ...

Terry Wright said...

Thanks for your comments, M. and Gleds.

THR said...

This is a good post, Terry. I would also guess that most Australians would agree with it.
You should try spreading your work around. Maybe Online Opinion, or something. You deserve a wide audience.

Terry Wright said...

Thanks THR.
I always knew you were a decent bloke.

Ia;n Hall was WRONG!

: )

Trotting Out the Pigs of Australia said...

Laurie Nowell is an out an out liar. He has aligned himself with the Fathers rights mob (note I didn't say Childrens rights) in Australia and will print any story they give and deliberately omit facts. 2 of the stories he has written are about Fathers who have violated their families....one was accused of sexually abusing his daughter (a fact Laurie Nowell either ignored or downplayed) and the court ordered the father to stay away from his daughter until she turns 18, (Laurie tried to make the story appear that the Family Law Court made the order when it was the Victorian County Court and the guy had breached an order) and the other was for a man who repeatedly breached an Intervention Order and was jailed for doing so. Laurie decided to ignore the facts that the guy told him and chose to deliberately sensationalise the story to appear as if the father was innocently sending his child a card when I have eveidence the father didn't even tell Laurie that. Nonetheless both violent fathers were very pleased with Laurie's reporting. The Sun Herald also is very corrupt.

Anonymous said...

If all the countries that have this heroin addiction problem,which is costing australia a $100,000,000 a year,Put there heads together and somehow was able to pay the actual growers (who don't get payed much anyhow)not to grow it or the goverments buy and distroy it, this would have to put a dent in the heroin trade and surely save the taxpayer some dollars. Mybe iam just a simple country boy and most likely don't understand that this just would'nt work.

Terry Wright said...

Hi Trotting Out the Pigs of Australia

Thanks for the info.

Your last statement about the HeraldSun is not surprising. They need journalists like Laurie Nowell to keep up their reputation as being a prime producer of trash media.

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Anon.
One possible solution that has been heavily researched and documented is to establish a morphine production facility in Afghanistan. They could buy all the poppies from the farmers and produce much needed morphine for the medical industry. The INCB always keep morphine levels as low as possible which means many countries have insufficient supplies. This solution of course has been ignored by the UN and other US centric countries.

Anonymous said...

Look this is all a pointless daryl bason mave to prove he is a good bloke. He does not give a hoot about addicts, all he cares about is the $$$$ greed. He uses his power as a chemist to make money of the ill. Daryl bason is a shame, a pig womanizer, uses his power to great lengths that is discusting. Most of his customers hate him, he holds the juice so they have to get it of him because the docters write the scripts to him. Nothing more than greed, he even raises his two year old son in the chemist, good form, not.

Many people who have work at terry white at the corner of high and chapel say that daryl is an pig headed looser, inmature and greedy when it comes to putting people on methodone, he hits women as well and could not bring up children for a joke. It is all a sham to make this animal look good.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah great post the herald sun is corrupt, if so why dont you make no comment daryl. But no you had to put your two bob in to try and make you look good. If the journalists are assholes then why add a comment. Any way no teachers rarely would go to terry white any way, its many hardened addicts, blue collar workers would not even bother to walk in to see an idiot like daryl, thay have pride. The only lawyer would enter that chemist to talk to daryl would be for his crimes against women and kids.

You never hear of the people that chemist has killed do you. ALOT OF PEOPLE RECON IT SHOULD BE SHUT DOWN

Anonymous said...

People that die, form drugs some on purpose and others by accident, in the end i think all these people need is to be cared for or loved. Many have only known drugs as the ultimate rush in life, it covers emotional pain. Its hard for addicts to enter the normal life of the square heads and more often than not addicts are rejected by society even if they have no longer have an addiction.

Terry Wright said...

Thanks for your comments Anons.
I can't really comment on Daryl Bason as I know nothing about him. I have heard horror stories about methadone providers though.

Addicts would be the most stereotyped people in society. It's probably because of those addicts who commit crimes make the news more often. Drug addiction is a horrible burden and most people seem obsessed with condemning them rather than understanding their circumstances. Underneath, they are still people who have the same fears, hopes and problems like everyone else.

criss said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
family of one customer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Terry Wright said...

C'mon, enough of the Daryl Bason shit. I get your point.