I sat down in front of my TV (a rare occurrence these days) and flicked to BBC News 24, to provide me with some entertainment while I ate my lunch. I caught a couple of stories; the first was about the MoD’s shameful attacks on Joanna Lumley and her campaign in support of the Gurkhas. The second story was about the latest ‘legal high’ craze mephedrone. I hadn’t really heard of mephedrone until a couple of weeks ago, where I saw it being advertised on Facebook as ‘plant food’. I did some digging, and figured it was another fad, and left it there.

Since then, mephedrone has boomed, thanks mainly to the coverage it’s receiving from major news outlets, such as through the BBC News report I watched today. The report not only provided an explanation of what the drug was, but included an interview with some yob from Brighton who claimed it gives you “double the hit” that you’d get from cocaine or ecstacy. It also included video footage of some websites which sell the stuff, with the URLs clearly visible, emblazoned at the top of the pages shown. Now, I’d like to think that the crack team of journalists that is responsible for the BBC News possess some modicum of intelligence, but from what I’ve seen today, I’m starting to doubt this. BBC News, what were you thinking?

You’ve single-handedly given the suppliers of mephedrone more (free) advertising than they could ever afford themselves. You’ve also glamourised the drug to unsuspecting children who may be watching a report such as this when they get in from school. You’ve also helpfully gone to the trouble of enlightening them on what mephedrone actually is, in case they’ve missed the media storm surrounding the drug. More than that, you’ve told people where they can buy it, which is just unacceptable. Shame on you.

It’s wrong to blame only the BBC for this, however. Google ‘mephedrone’ right now. Around half of the articles on the first page of results are news articles, with the other half being websites you can purchase from. Preposterous. Simply ridiculous. Well done, media. You’ve successfully escalated an underground ‘legal high’ fad into a nationwide pandemic.


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