Meth madness at Newsweek.

Media criticism.
Jan. 31 2007 5:44 PM

Meth Madness at Newsweek

This is your magazine on drugs.

(Continued from Page 1)

Some epidemic.

This critique is no brief in favor of drug use. Nor do I minimize the collateral damage inflicted on others by methamphetamine users. But journalism like this ignores how, to paraphrase Grinspoon and Hedblom, drug-war measures often do more harm to individuals and society than the original "evil" substance the warriors attempted to stamp out. In the mid-1960s, just before the government declared war on amphetamines, the average user swallowed his pills, which were of medicinal purity and potency. Snorting and smoking stimulants was almost unheard of, and very few users injected intravenously.

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Today, 40 years later, snorting, smoking, and injecting methamphetamines of unpredictable potency and dubious purity has become the norm—with all the dreadful health consequences. If the current scene illustrates how the government is winning the war on drugs, I'd hate to see what losing looks like.

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And don't get me started on Newsweek's exploitative approach to "meth-mouth." I'm sure that smoking meth is horrible for your teeth and your digestion, but when was the last time you read a newspaper story about toothless winos in which they attributed their dental dilemmas to excessive cabernet sauvignon consumption? For more on meth-mouth, without the freak-show pandering, see this New York Times article. Send your observations to slate.pressbox@gmail.com. (E-mail may be quoted unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)

Jack Shafer was Slate's editor at large. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at Shafer.Reuters@gmail.com.

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