Media Got Hooked on Drug Hype in 2005

By renegades · Mar 18, 2007 · Updated Mar 29, 2007 · ·
  1. renegades
    Yes, swim has been saying this for months now. The meth epademic does not exist. It is a fabrication of the media. Let the guys at George Mason University has listed in order media hype gone awry.
    The 2005 Dubious Data Awards
    December 22, 2005
    Stats Staff
    STATS Sets The Record Straight on the Year's Biggest Science Reporting Flubs
    Media Got Hooked on Drug Hype in 2005

    WASHINGTON, DC - America’s so-called methamphetamine epidemic was the worst example of media stressing shock over substance in 2005 science journalism, according to the annual “Dubious Data Awards,” issued by the Statistical Assessment Service (STATS) at George Mason University.​

    STATS is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to improving public understanding of science and statistics . Each December STATS issues a list of scientific studies that were mishandled by the media during the preceding year. This year’s “Dubious Data Awards” detailing the worst examples of shoddy science reporting go to:​

    7. Media Gorge on Obesity! - The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report suggesting that a little extra weight may not always be dangerous - which the media trumpeted as proof that the “food police” were dieting us to death. But some of the results were statistically insignificant, and even the CDC didn’t claim they were conclusive. ​

    6. Toothpaste Terror! - After American researchers found that an antibacterial substance found in toothpaste can produce chloroform, the British press published panicky reports that warned of “depression, liver problems and… cancer.” After supermarkets in England began taking toothpaste off their shelves, the American Dental Association pointed out that the effect occurred only in experimental conditions that placed pure forms of the chemical in very hot and heavily chlorinated water - not the way most people brush their teeth.​

    5. French Fry Fright - California’s Attorney General inspired a wave of media hysteria by filing a lawsuit against McDonald’s and Frito Lay, directing them to warn consumers that their products contained acrylamide, which is allegedly linked to cancer and birth defects. But the coverage overlooked a major 2003 Harvard study, which found that this chemical didn’t raise cancer rates and may have lowered them. ​

    4. America’s Teens, Dazed And Confused - 2005 saw a spate of alarmist stories trashing teenagers for sex, drug and booze abuse. The New York Times even upgraded the concern to a new “identity disorder,” in which teens are increasingly using illicit drugs, alcohol and sexual activity to remove themselves from reality. Don’t believe the hype. According to the University of Michigan’s long-term “Monitoring Our Future” study, sexual activity, drug abuse and alcohol abuse among teens are all down in recent years.​

    3. Gender-Bending Babies - Parents across the country were frightened by a study that allegedly linked phthalates (a family of chemicals that make plastic flexible) to gender deformities in male infants. For example, USA Today reported that “a common chemical may cause defects in baby boys.” In fact the children who were studied showed no gender deformities, and a government panel of experts announced they could not validate the study’s findings - which the major media failed to report. ​

    2. Poison Popcorn - “Good Morning America” ran an “exclusive” investigative report on the cancer risks of a chemical found in popcorn bags, fast food boxes, and candy wrappers. The program reported: “The Food and Drug Administration has opened an investigation into its safety, based on new information and the testimony of a DuPont whistleblower” that levels were three times higher than FDA recommended levels. The truth? There is no new investigation, the FDA doesn’t have any recommended levels, and such chemicals are not considered unsafe. ​

    1. Meth Mania - Methamphetamine (known as ‘meth’) was the King Kong of the drug war in 2005 - decried on the nightly news, the newsweekly covers, and the morning news programs . Newsweek called it “ America’s Most Dangerous Drug” (and showed gruesome photos of “meth mouth.”). The New York Times reported that it was more difficult to beat than crack.
    But academic research tells a different story. According to the University of Michigan, meth use among high school students has actually declined 28% in the last five years. And the current number of meth users (583,000) is only slightly greater than the number of crack users (450,000), although the “crack epidemic” is portrayed as a thing of the past. As for the claim that relapse rates are worse among meth addicts than other drug abusers, it’s simply not true. Only six percent of those who have tried methamphetamine also reported using it in the last month. Studies find that methamphetamine addicts recover at the same rate as other drug addicts.​

    Swim detests reporters who are more interested in making the news instead of reporting it. That is about 99% of them fall into that category. No wonder why NBC has lost 600,000 viewers over the last few months, people are just tired of the chinese water touture treatment with drug stories of busts and killings with no end in sight. Why put yourself through that for a half an hour? Anyway, swim thinks he knows why NBC has lost so many viewers is because Brian Williams comes on looking very somber, grim, as though someone in his family had just died and opens up with Iraq and more bombings or why not turn the channel to Charlie Gibson, always with a smile, likable, seems to think for himself, is not one of the flock and opens up with a story about a cancer treatment with promising results. Who would you watch?​

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  1. enquirewithin
    SWIM has always been dubious about so-called 'meth mouth.' Has anyone ever met someone who has 'meth mouth.'?
  2. darawk
    I like the article, and I don't mean to derail the thread, but your opinion on the Iraq war and Bush is wrong to the point of absurdity. And I realize that some people like to say that "opinions can't be wrong", but in this case, yours is. Bush is an idiot and has run the most corrupt administration we have probably ever seen in american history, outpacing Nixon by leaps and bounds. You are seriously in need of a reality check on your understanding of international politics and the U.S.'s foreign policy history with the middle east.
  3. IkBenDeMan
    Agreed... Patriot Act (which in 2005 included the "Combat Methamphetamine Act of 2005), Military Commissions Act of 2006....?
  4. sunyata
    There's also something about those Iranians under 30 who disagree with the Ayatollah that they might side with him if we(the west) try to force them to change.
    And since we've failed so miserably in Irac what makes anyone think that we'll succeed in Iran?

    Is that what you see happening in Irac today? What News channel are you watching?
  5. zera
    Investor's Business Daily (one of the few level-headed newspapers left in this country) ran a story about this so-called meth mouth. It has absolutely nothing to do with methamphetamine use itself, rather it stems from the fact that meth users usually try to quench their drymouth with sugary drinks, like soda. This combined with the fact that the lack of hygeine that a multi-day meth run is usually associated with leads to poor dental hygeine. It's pretty much the most exagerrated meth story ever. Maybe the hype about the meth labs everywhere are to, when pretty much all meth in the US is synthesized in Mexico.
  6. Riconoen {UGC}
    I've been telling everyone I know the meth epidemic is a media myth and the whole meth mouth and emacited state of many meth addicts are due to poor hygiene and not the drug itself and I get looks like I'm the spawn of satan. You control the media, you control the mind.
  7. renegades
    Swim says the media is a major reason our drug laws suck. It is their hysteria, them trying to scare the crap out of parents, labeling everything new that comes down the pike as a killer, making drug crimes the top story of the 6:00 news, spreading misinformation, not getting the facts correct, assuming what the police are telling them is true and reporting it making it a public record, and always getting emotional about a drug story. Reporters are the lowest bottom feeder on the food chain, he/she is a scanvenger always taking anything they can get. What is wrong with our journalism departments in our colleges? What are they teaching their students? Is it better to make the news than report it?
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