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'Zombies', 'cannibals',and'super humans': a quantitative and qualitative analysis of UK news media reporting of the cathinone psychostimulants labelled 'monkey dust'

Atkinson, AM and Sumnall, H (2020) 'Zombies', 'cannibals',and'super humans': a quantitative and qualitative analysis of UK news media reporting of the cathinone psychostimulants labelled 'monkey dust'. Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy. ISSN 0968-7637

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Zombies’, ‘cannibals’ and ‘super humans’ A quantitative and qualitative analysis of UK news media reporting of cathinone psychostimulants labelled ‘monkey dust’.pdf - Accepted Version
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Abstract

Background: News media helps set the agenda for public thinking and policy responses to drugs use, by framing substances, substance use and people who use drugs (PWUD) within a ‘drug scare’ narrative. Using the example of ‘monkey dust’, an inconsistently identified set of substituted cathinone psychostimulants, we explored how an emerging drug ‘problem’ was reported in the UK news media, and what this tells us about prevailing attitudes towards substance use and PWUD.
Methods: A quantitative and qualitative analysis of UK news media (n = 368 articles) representations of ‘monkey dust’ was conducted, and the underlying discourses identified.
Findings: Monkey dust reporting met the criteria of a drug scare, which was predominantly underpinned by discourses of criminality and legality. An unrepresentative, somewhat distorted, incomplete and simplified account of monkey dust as new and dangerous, and as requiring urgent legislative action, was provided. PWUD were dehumanised, criminalised, and stigmatised and the complexities of use, and responses other than those that fell within the status quo, obscured.
Conclusions: To prevent the negative impact such reporting may have on PWUD, it is important that relevant stakeholders, including advocacy groups, academics, and researchers, work with journalists to change the way drug use and PWUD are reported.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy on 29/09/2020, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09687637.2020.1799944
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1117 Public Health and Health Services, 1605 Policy and Administration
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN4699 Journalism
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Public Health Institute
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2021 13:33
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2021 13:45
DOI or Identification number: 10.1080/09687637.2020.1799944
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14352

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