Drug coverage linked to increased use

Written by Eugenie Turrisi
Media coverage of drugs

Over-exposure of drugs in the media has the potential to increase interest and result in possible use.

The media has seen a sudden resurgence in drug related stories. Drug experts have suggested that this over-exposure of drugs in the media may increase interest and possible use.

Dr Jeremy Hayllar, clinical director of Metro North Mental Health, raised his concerns.

“One interesting finding that whenever a new substance is publicised in the media you can look back at Google searches for people looking to find out more about a substance and there is a dramatic peak every often in Google,” he said.

One example has been the continual reporting of a prescription drug Mephedrone, commonly known as Meow Meow.

“In the last couple of years [media coverage of] Meow Meow has lead to a spike in people searching to access this substance,” said Dr Hayllar.

Interestingly, other forms of media, such as music, could encourage this kind of drug seeking behaviour. According to a Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine report, popular music can expose adolescents up 84 references to illicit substances.

“The wrong sort of discussion can lead to a great interest developing and can typically be followed by many more people trying to access and use a particular substance,” said Dr Hayllar.


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