Media savvy

Who’s been saying what?

The state can only do so much. Most of us aren’t alcoholics. We just drink too much. With every drink, we make a decision. We need to make different decisions. But the state can shape attitudes and it can legitimately do so, citing the costs and losses that result when it does little or nothing. The state can do more without being accused of nannying. And it should.

Hugh Muir, Guardian, 3 October

How unrealistic of NICE – the body that decides which life-saving drugs the NHS can afford – to suggest anyone who drinks more than two large glasses of wine a day should be prescribed a pill costing £3 on the NHS by their family doctor… NICE needs to be disbanded – it’s not fit for purpose.

Janet Street Porter, Mail, 6 October

Our collective consumption has come under fire from NICE (possibly the most exasperatingly contradictory acronym ever coined). This august body, which normally preoccupies itself with the illogical restriction of lifesaving cancer drugs, has decided to interfere with our right to a family life that’s pleasingly fuzzy.

Judith Woods, Telegraph, 4 October

Macmillan’s Sober October campaign seems to have been brewed on the very idea that not drinking should be some publicly declared, universally admired, valiantly fought battle. Something to scream from the social media rooftops and compensate with sponsorship… We have become so used to drinking, eating, buying and downloading ourselves into a state of milky infant satiation that we have started to see self-restraint as something worth writing home (on Facebook, Twitter, email circulars) about.

Nell Frizzell, Guardian, 1 October

Given the percentages, it follows that everyone knows someone who has taken drugs. And the chances are that most of us know someone who acknowledges that they’ve had problems with drugs. In addition, it’s not unlikely that we’ve fallen victim to a crime committed by an addict funding his or her habit. The point is that drugs cannot be safely categorised as a niche activity or a passing fad. They are as much part of modern life as food banks or farmers’ markets.

Andrew Anthony, Observer, 5 October 

A long and expensive international PR campaign has fooled a willing elite (many of them drug abusers themselves) into believing that cannabis is safe when in fact it is one of the most dangerous drugs there is. So we shut our minds to all the evidence of the terrible harm it can do – even highly publicised killings by cannabis abusers.

Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday, 26 October

Colombians would dispute the claim that [Stephen] Fry repeated on Newsnight: that, with cocaine consumption, ‘I’m the only person I hurt’. For them, a long line, more of blood than of powder, links the smallholdings of Cauca or Antioquia to the toilets of Soho clubs. Cocaine-driven conflict in Colombia has cost 220,000 lives. The same upheavals displaced about 4.5m people from their homes… Self-righteous spliff-puffers who believe that their beloved herb stands on higher moral ground than cocaine should know about the Vietnamese children trafficked into Britain to work as slaves on cannabis farms.

Boyd Tonkin, Independent, 3 October