Wednesday 4 August 2010

Drugs and their representation

I watched a fascinating programme that Channel 4 aired on Monday night entitled 'Every one's At It'. It highlighted some of the issues of my PhD. Since the beginning of my research cannabis has been moved from a Class B drug to Class C and then back again. Various new drugs have come on the scene such as Methadrone, initially a legal high but now illegal, GHB which has also been classed as an illegal drug but has been replaced by users by GBL. The programme claims that one in six British citizens have used a Class A drug. Angus McQueen is exploring the drug situation by talking to users, parents of children who have died using drugs, the police and charities that provide support for drug users.
It had a powerful message that basically drug use is out of control in this country and McQueen suggests that perhaps we should consider legalising these drugs as we are not capable of stopping people using them. It is an argument that I think I agree with.
As a writer though it makes writing about drugs particularly difficult as the culture is moving all the time. As part of my PhD I am suggesting that a novel is a good resource for information - if it is not a novel that teenagers are being told to read, in which case they immediately switch off. What it needs is good gripping, well told stories that grab the teenagers mind. Bali Rai, Kevin Brooks, Keith Gray, Jenny Valentine and Melvin Burgess are names that come to mind immediately but before you all bombard me with other books about drugs I am aware just don't feel a list of authors or books is appropriate in this blog. If you want more information on them please contact me.
It is also interesting how the portrayal of drug has shifted over the last 14 years - but that is for my thesis. You'll have to wait for that to find out more.

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