How is The Media Portraying Drug Abuse?

Just when we think it can’t possibly get any worse – Rob Ford keeps making the headlines for outrageous comments and behavior. For the past few weeks, the prominent Mayor of Toronto has been publically humiliated and his name has been dragged through the mud.

It all started when police officers claimed they had obtained video of Ford smoking crack. From that point on, Rob Ford began spiraling out of control, and the media has been there to document it every step of the way.

Is Media Perception Harmful?

While the Mayor has quickly developed a number of “memorable moments” in the press, it is what he is doing lately that is truly disturbing – he is now pleading with the media to leave him and his family alone. Ford has gone on rampages about allegedly false news reports about him associated with prostitutes, continuing to smoke crack, and sexually harassing co-workers. He has even done so much as to warn the media that if he finds out there have been any false reports printed about him, that he will take legal action.

So, is this a story of man who is at the point of no return, or is this quickly becoming the story of a man who is being pushed by the media based on their own perceptions of drug abuse and government scandals?

It can be debated that regardless of the Mayor’s actions, the media has fed into a stigma that is commonly associated with drug abuse – the idea of a reckless, angry individual who is unable to utilize tact when speaking, or even avoid stumbling in the streets. What we are witnessing is surely a man who is in a great deal of public distress, however the media has played a major role in projecting this image, which in itself can be dangerous.

Drug abuse is undoubtedly an extremely serious issue, and for many people, it is recognized as a condition that requires professional help to overcome. However, others are uneducated about the topic of addiction, and refer to the media to help guide their opinions. As the media continues to beat down a man they claim has a drug abuse problem, those who are looking on will contribute to that same treatment, thus fueling the perception that drug addicts are bad people and continue to ignore the benefits that can come from professional treatment.

There is a great deal of danger when this stigma is doled out by the media, and despite the many negative things that Rob Ford has done, if he truly has a problem, it is necessary that he obtains appropriate care, rather than a continued barrage of negativity promoted by the media and those who choose to carry out a damaging stigma of drug abuse.

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