Drugs and the Media

I saw a BBC news report this evening about a young woman who had been badly beaten by a gang of girls.

What the girls did to this young woman is inexcusable, and in no way do I condone the beating. What I want to comment about is the news report’s closing statement:

Sabrina Barber – who was high on drugs at the time – has been jailed for five years.

Period. The report doesn’t say what drugs she was high on, or whether or not alcohol was part of the mix.

It links to another BBC report where the reader learns that:

The court heard Barber was high on the drug mephedrone, which has since been banned.

I believe responsible reporting would have clearly stated in the report attached to the video clip, what drugs were involved, and in both reports whether or not alcohol was part of the mix.

Our society – led by the media – is very quick to blame extreme acts of violence on drugs. Drugs can be many things, including alcohol and tobacco, as well as prescribed pharmaceuticals such as Prozac which has been linked with extreme, irrational acts of violence.

The media needs to start being more responsible in the reporting of drugs in connection with violence, and when mentioning drugs should be required to state exactly what drugs were involved. Perhaps then we will start to get some clarity on the issue.

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