Media savvy

Media savvy december

Drug abuse and HIV continue to present profound challenges to the health of gay people, but a climate of moral panic and blaming the gay scene is counterproductive… We need a more sophisticated analysis of the reasons driving high-risk behaviour among some gay men. Without this under­standing, any future NHS responses to chemsex are destined to fail.
Marco Scalvini, Guardian, 10 November

A major reason for the media coverage of chemsex as destructive is that most of the first-hand accounts of the experience come from people who present it as a problem at sexual health clinics. The media then select the most horrifying of these…. As for the connection between chemsex and HIV transmission, there is little academic consensus on this.
Jamie Hakim, Independent, 25 November

Addressing chemsex-related morbidities should be a public health priority. However, in England funding for specialist sexual health and drugs services is waning and commissioning for these services is complex. English sexual health services tend to be open access, with costs charged back to local authorities. Drug services tend to be authority specific with users having to attend a service within their borough of residence. Despite the different funding streams, creating centres of excellence for sexual health and drug services could be a cost effective solution to diminished resources in both sectors.
BMJ editorial, 3 November

Around the world, about 25 countries including Australia, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Switzerland have initiated reform. Even Iran’s theocracy brought in progressive harm-reduction measures and has influential voices calling for cannabis and opium legal­isation. Slowly but surely we are seeing the end of stupid policies to prohibit drug use that are not only stunningly illiberal but damage users, families, communities and entire countries.
Ian Birrell, Independent, 9 November

If governments really want to limit the harm from drugs – saving addicts’ lives, crushing dealers’ profits and slashing the number of people who take them in the first place – then they must seize control of the market themselves.
Economist editorial, 7 November

If people are going to use narcotics, it is best they do so safely. Relaxing the legislation on drug use, coupled with access to injection rooms, really is our only way forward.
Lorraine Courtney, Irish Independent, 6 November

What do modern terrorists have in common? Yes, they are fanatical, and usually (but not always) from ethnic minorities. But there’s something else very interesting. They are invariably on mind-altering drugs, usually cannabis.
Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday, 22 November