Monday, March 26, 2007

Writing an Opinion piece

After days in isolation, stuck in my bedroom, so Tams and Megs didn’t get my horrible bug, I’ve been able to venture into the front room and beyond, and felt well enough to do some work. With four days of not writing, I have been panicking about the time I have to do the amount of writing I need to do. However today I have actually managed to almost finish my opinion piece for the features unit.

While I was ill, I caught up on reading newspapers I had lying around. 11 years ago I did my Access course final project on the portrayal of drugs by the media. It was titled ‘More harm than good. A study into the effects of the portrayal of drugs, and their users, by the media.’ The ‘moral panic’ at the time was focused on the drug ecstasy. In a complete turn around, last week, the Independent on Sunday (IOS) apologised for campaigning for the decriminalisation of cannabis 10 years ago, saying the rise in the production of skunk, means that now it is more dangerous than ecstasy. They put forward that super strength skunk is responsible for a rise in teenage schizophrenia, and should be upgraded again.

Bullshit, I’m sorry, but they have based their articles on inconclusive evidence, and inconsistent facts. They say that skunk available now is 25 times stronger than ‘traditional cannabis resin’. They have basically compared the weakest cannabis 10 years ago to the strongest available today, to distort the facts and to support their argument. What they don’t acknowledge was that this super strength skunk has been on the market for many years, including the period when they were calling for decriminalisation 10 years ago.

In my opinion it is undeniable that smoking cannabis heavily, does exasperate mental illness, and increase feelings of paranoia. However it is more likely that people with developing mental health problems, look to cannabis as a means of self medication and escape for a while, than the idea that cannabis causes severe mental problems. They are a very small minority of the cannabis smoking population. Upgrading cannabis again will only affect the millions (9 million+ according to IOS) who smoke cannabis with no damaging effects to themselves or society.

As you can probably guess the IOS report is the subject of my opinion piece, and I have pulled it apart. I will put it on my Jax writer’s spot blog when I have finished it. So I’ve had a good writing day and I hope this trend continues, it needs to if I’m going to get all my work done.


emapple said...

Just popped in to say hi.

Agreed the cannabis thing is ridiculous. The strength of stuff now is no greater or lesser than it has been in my over fifteen years of smoking.

I do think smoking can cause mental health problems - I'm sure it's exacabated my own over the years. However that doesn't mean I think it should be a crime.

Oh, and technical anal legal point (sorry!) - cannabis has never been decrimalised. It was downgraded to a Class C drug, but posession is still illegal and can still lead to a criminal record.


Rae said...

Hey sweetie, off to London in 3 mins, glad you are feeling a bit better.
Really missed you at party sat, Alf, Leslie and Steve said Hi. S and Aaron weren't there - ben was, read my blog ! I really must keep away from him cos it messes with my system for a few days after.
Hope to catch up over weekend.


Jacqui said...

Thanx Em, you're right.
I have edited my post, I checked it again today as I had written it after a few glasses of wine last night.

Liam said...

Hi there!

Thanks for your comment love, that was really nice of you.

I'm sorry to hear about I. How are you doing?

Are you feeling better post-bug?

Hope all the work's going well. Speak soon,

Liam xx