Previous research has suggested that the media conveys a mainly negative impression which ‘demonises’ and ‘marginalises’ drugs users and misrepresents drugs users, drug use and its effects. Other UKDPC research has shown that nearly two-thirds (64%) of adults in the UK agreed with the statement that “People with a history of drug dependence are too often demonised in the media”.
UKDPC therefore commissioned the Loughborough Communications Research Centre (LCRC), to undertake a comprehensive and systematic study of the coverage of drug users and drug use in print media in the UK, to improve our understanding of the
way drug users and drug use is represented in the British press.
This research involved analysing all items (over 6,000 in total) referencing drug users or drug use in eight newspapers (representing national, regional, tabloid and broadsheet papers from across the UK) in each of three years, 1995, 2002 and 2009.