COMMENT: Media prefer drugs to alcohol


Photo by Quinn Dombrowski CC: BY-SA 2.0

Grenville Francis

Ice epidemic! Ecstasy plague!! Record heroin haul!!!

Sensational, spellbinding headlines that may seduce you to click, read, watch or listen to and maybe go: “Bloody druggies… lock em up!”

You might to also want to go: “Bloody drunkards … lock em up too!!” Quite simply because alcohol is the biggest drug problem in Australia.

Yet the media prefers to report on the police seizing 30 kilos of meth or raiding a $5m cannabis farm. When compared with how much harm and trouble that glass of red; shot of bourbon; crisp, cold, refreshing beer that sweetly hits the spot on a hot summer’s day could cause.

Concerningly, this may give rise to us considering the ramifications of alcohol use and abuse as not being as serious or far reaching as drug use or abuse. Read on to find how worrying and far reaching it can be.

The not-very but most recent (2016) National Drug Strategy Household Survey reported that people are worried alcohol is more likely to cause death than meth and heroin.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that of all the drugs leading to people seeking treatment, the highest was alcohol. Its total was 32%, which is a third of all drug-induced treatments!

Ambulance Victoria statistics showed alcohol-related attendances were more than 11 times higher than calls for meth-related harm.

When it comes to crime, alcohol has the other drugs handcuffed and locked away too. According to Stephen Bright, Senior Lecturer in Addiction Studies at Edith Cowan University, media is more likely to link illegal drugs with violent crimes, sexual assaults and murders than alcohol.

“This is despite one study finding 47% of homicides in Australia over a six-year period were alcohol-related,” he added.

In no shape or form does this article intend to downplay the incredibly harmful and devastating effects of drugs. The homes they wreck, the lives they shatter.

But before you consume another media report on what that bump of cocaine, hit of the ice pipe or pop of an ecstasy pill does; just think for a moment of how much damage that next swig of beer could also do.