In November last year, the Sun published a story under the headline: "Legal drug teen ripped his scrotum off". Quoting a police report, the paper said an unnamed teenager from Durham needed hospital treatment after mephedrone made him him "rip off his own scrotum". An internal police report had said: "One individual states that after using it for 18 hours his hallucinations led him to believe that centipedes were crawling over him and biting him, and this led him to receive hospital treatment after he ripped his own scrotum off." However, it carried on: "This information was taken from an internet blog and as such it should be treated with the credence such information deserves." The officer said he took the story from a website that sells mephedrone, and that his warning was not printed. The owner of the website that hosted this blog, mephedrone.com, says the posting was a joke.
How could the media fail us so? The banning of a drug does not mean that we are safer as a results. The war of drugs has failed and yet the media pushes the same failed ideas and policies over and over. Still there was one bright spot in this article:
The media's coverage has angered some who work in the drugs policy field. "The misreporting of mephedrone deaths is a crass example of the potentially lethal alliance between press and politicians that by default ends in a ban that often creates far greater harms than those caused by use," said Danny Kushlick, of the drugs charity Transform, which opposes prohibition.
Danny is standing in the election for Bristol West - where I live! He's a great bloke - smart, funny and he genuinely cares. He's got my vote and I'll be blogging more about him as time goes on...