Media Savvy September 2016

media-savvy-octoCheers, Theresa. The PM is already showing the sort of common sense her predecessor frequently lacked. The slapdown for top doc Dame Sally Davies over alcohol guidelines is significant. May’s move shows a government intent on treating us like grown-ups, not like children who need to be nannied. Her hysterical warning that ANY amount of alcohol is bad for you was simply ridiculous… As the Brexit vote showed, we Brits like to make up our own minds – regardless of a small, closed Westminster cabal hectoring us.

Sun on Sunday editorial, 21 August


If a trendy charity announced that it was holding seminars for burglars, to show them how to avoid being hurt in the course of breaking into our homes, you wouldn’t expect the police to approve. They may not care all that much about crime these days, but they’d have to put a stop to it. Yet when a trendy charity offered to test illegal drugs for ‘quality’ at a music festival inCambridgeshire, the local police gave their blessing. The ‘tests’ duly went ahead, and hundreds of squalid, selfish people went unpunished for blatant breaches of criminal law. All that users of illegal drugs need to know about quality is that they are dangerous. That’s why it is illegal to possess them.

Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday, 31 July


Debates about harm reduction always follow the same pattern. Hysterical fears are confidently asserted as if proven beyond doubt while potential benefits, often based on considerable research and experience, are dismissed or ignored.

Alex Wodak, Guardian, 11 August


If we really want to treat addiction like the medical problem it so clearly is, we can’t use the criminal justice system to arrest people for showing symptoms of it. If you want to fight stigma, you’ve got to first fight criminalisation and reform the coercive and demeaning addiction treatment system that has been warped by it.

Maia Szalavitz, Guardian, 5 July


Several studies have shownthat a belief in the disease concept of addiction increases the probability of relapse. And that shouldn’t be surprising. If you think you have a chronic disease, how hard are you going to work to get better? If we can acknowledge that addiction is like a disease in some ways and very much unlike a disease in other ways, maybe we can stop trying to label it and pay more attention to the best means for overcoming it.

Marc Lewis, Observer, 24 July