It seems so recent that this drug was on everyone’s lips – well filtrums – but look and its press mentions: In recent days they have plummeted.
In an earlier post I explained my sample method and discussed Mephedrone as a Moral Panic. To get my results I set up a Google News alert for “Mephedrone” and sat back. Of course until the 26th March I had the maximum number of stories set to 10 so the magnitude of the peak is somewhat reduced.
As you can see the moral panic really took hold for a fortnight before falling off sharply.
This moral panic was not driven by deaths or the danger of the drug. Very few deaths have actually resulted from Mephedrone, in fact nationally in only one case has a direct causal link been established. The harm this drug causes is also unclear as it has been impossible to do any research into it.
Nevertheless, the danger of this drug was always trumpeted as the reason that it must be banned and the magnitude of this can be seen above.
Yet on the 5th April a 16 year old collapsed in Carlisle yet it did not spark the wave of news other stories had.
Likewise, Mephedrone is still legal for sale despite and has never been more abundant with the general public after a massive last minute shopping spree.
The agreed on phrasing is that “25 deaths have been linked with it” even though only one was actually caused by it – these deaths are a tool and sadly mean nothing more in this context. The mothers campaigning against this drug are being used.
Deaths are immaterial as is the abundance or effect of the drug out there. It is not authoritarianism that has led this drug to being outlawed but something worse.
Authoritarianism by proxy I suppose; outrage sells newspapers and badly reported deaths cause outrage; sold newspapers attract attention and attention looks like importance; importance attracts politicians and politicians attract newspapers; and so on; and so on…