Media savvy January 2014

Who’s been saying what..? DDN’s round-up of what’s being said in the national papers

The man who played the beloved sitcom character Chandler Bing, Matthew Perry, went head-to-head on Monday’s Newsnight with the man who plays maligned pantomime villain Peter Hitchens… Perry and Hitchens leading the national debate on drugs policy is the logical conclusion to most of the UK media’s reporting of anything medical or scientific; an end-of-days scenario that could only be improved if Matt Le Blanc stepped in for Perry, in character as sandwich-loving ladies’ man Joey Tribbiani.

Oscar Rickett, Guardian, 17 December

While I feel a wave of hatred beating against me whenever I walk into a BBC studio, it is never so strong as when I have come there to argue against the weakening of the drug laws. In fact they have pretty much stopped asking me to discuss this at all, since I dared to give a hard time to their favourite advocate of drug law relaxation, Professor David Nutt (how long before he gets his own show?). Drug abuse, you see, isn’t just a minor fringe activity. It is the secret vice of the whole British Establishment.

Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday, 1 December

The news that government advisers want ketamine reclassified from a class C to B drug is more fiddling while the crack pipe burns. The drug wasn’t banned until 2006, but someone who gets caught with it will now face up to five years in prison instead of two. A heavy price, one feels, for the person who wants to anaesthetise themselves of an evening. Send them to prison where drugs are the currency? It’s almost as if government advisers don’t live in the real world.

Suzanne Moore, Guardian, 11 December

Policies are not made in isolation… Law, economics, politics and public opinion are all important factors; scientific evidence is only part of the picture that a policy maker has to consider. Most of the major policy areas that consistently draw opprobrium from scientists are far more complicated than just scientific evidence: energy, drugs and health, to name just three.

Chris Tyler, Guardian, 2 December

Will I feel sorry for Nigella [Lawson] if these allegations – which she has denied – turn out to be true? Not really. Habitual and dangerous drug use can be sorted – if people want it to be.

Carole Malone, Sunday Mirror, 1 December

Until we get a government that is more concerned about the health of the population than that of the drinks industry, and an NHS prepared to tackle alcohol-related harm with the same vigour which with it tackles cardiac disease, we can only expect the problem to get much worse.

Dr Nick Sheron, Observer, 8 December

 I’m not a liberal on drugs policy and I don’t believe in legalisation: why make it easier for people to escape reality on yet more addictive, health-wrecking substances, when alcohol already triggers a crippling social and health burden our nation can hardly handle?… Yet we need to recognise, too, the deep and pervasive illogicality of our society – on almost every level – around questions of mood-altering substances.

Jenny McCartney, Telegraph, 7 December

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