Pubdate: Fri, 25 May 2001
Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Copyright: 2001 The Sydney Morning Herald
Author: Ian Webster
Cited: Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia


Recent media reporting on drugs demonstrates the need for media
guidelines on the coverage of these issues.

The use of terms such as "junkies", "shooting galleries" and the
preoccupation with the extreme end of the spectrum of drug use -
illicit drug use - compared with the more prevalent misuse of alcohol
and tobacco, and their greater harms, accentuate the stigma of
dependent drug users, their families and those who work in the front
line dealing with these problems.

The behaviour of some sections of Sydney's media towards the people
accessing the trial of a medically supervised injecting facility was
disgraceful. Every citizen is entitled to privacy, especially when
incapacitated or ill.

The council recognises the need for media guidelines and education on
drug issues. The media have so much they could contribute to a better
understanding of these issues as well as assisting with finding a
productive way forward.

Professor Ian Webster, Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia,
Deakin (ACT), May 23. 
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