Posts Tagged ‘drug policy’

The haunting spectacle of crystal meth: A media-created mythology?

August 29, 2012

From  Crime Media Culture 

Media-fuelled panics about drug use and drug control have occurred throughout the history of the modern press. This study examines the creation of current concerns about crystal methamphetamine (crystal meth) over the last decade, and how popular perceptions of drugs and drug users have been influenced by disproportionate and sensationalised alarmist media reporting. This movement can be seen as a case demonstrating the use of both propaganda and myth. The representation in the British mediahas created its own hyper-reality, influencing political debate, drug policy and public reaction. What is striking about the coverage of crystal meth, or ‘ice’ as it is commonly known, is that the media’s predicted epidemic in the UK has proved to be an exaggeration of mythic proportions. Quite simply, indicators measuring drug use in the UK suggest its use is almost non-existent.  This article has demonstrated that crystal meth represents a unique story.  The predicted arrival of an ‘ice age’ in Britain has not materialised. The article recognizes how the use of graphic visual images is pervasive in the24-hour, global, technology-driven, mobile, multi-mediascape and is even more significant in communicating the message and manipulating meaning.

It is concluded that the reality has become lost in the visual representation, and a hyper-reality of crystal meth use has been constructed in order to distract people from the veracity of social life and from more urgent socio-political issues. The haunting spectacle of crystal meth has become a central aspect of social order and culture; a ‘permanent opium war’ and an instigator of change.  The press has become the new battleground for this war on drugs.

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