Plants - Drugs Mind - Spirit Freedom - Law Arts - Culture Library  
Erowid References Database
Kavanaugh PR, Biggers Z. 
“Competing constructions of bath salts use and risk of harm in two mediated contexts”. 
Crime Media Culture. 2018 Mar 22.
Drawing on depictions of bath salts use in two different mediated contexts (110 local news reports, 109 individual user reports), in this study we highlight the incongruence between accounts of use and harm in news media versus drug users’ own narratives. Findings reveal that depictions of bath salts use in local news stories drew on three overlapping frames of risk and harm: a medical/health frame, a typifying example/atrocity story frame, and a legal/regulatory frame. User narratives were comparably neutral and richly descriptive, with tempered accounts of drug effects, psychopharmacological and other experiences while using, as well as tactics used to counter unpleasant effects. We find that both media forms limit discussions of drug use and risks of harm and are similarly dependent on a medical/health frame to legitimate them. The problem with news accounts is the denial of complex social and cultural contexts and possibilities regarding alternative drug policies. The problem with user narratives is the extent to which their accounts are moderated or excluded in order to manufacture a coherent public presentation of self, serving alternate ideological aims.
Comments and Responses to this Article
Status: display
Jul 30, 2018 9:39
Compartive Analysis of Discourse around #

This is perhaps the most lucid discussion I know of, outside of Erowid's own conference presentations and articles, about the discrepancy between mainstream media representations of the risks of using newer euphoric stimulants like MDPV between Erowid and the "opportunistic and decadent sensationalism of contemporary news reporting"".

While dominant understandings of drug use derived from news media routinize atrocity to cultivate fear and intrigue among consumers (Altheide, 1997; Altheide and Michalowski, 1999), a competing paradigm circulating in the cultural ether challenges these hyperbolic depictions and constructs an alternative vision. Internet forums and web spaces provide a platform for recreational drug users and subcultural group members to network and share drug experiences, as well as resist dominant discourses that depict drugs like bath salts as inevitably unfurling horrifying consequences on their users. Such communities are better able to account for the complex and highly varied conditions under which drug experiences manifest, and provide a radical break from the opportunistic and decadent sensationalism of contemporary news reporting.

Submit Comment
[ Cite HTML ]