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Monday, May 08, 2006

The Washington Post takes another bad drug trip.


In its recent coverage of illicit drugs, the Washington Post has oscillated between reefer madness and the cluelessness of a phys-ed instructor giving an anti-drug speech.
 
About six weeks ago, the reefer madness lobes in the Post's brain generated a piece about methamphetamine titled "The Next Crack Cocaine? As Meth Use Grows, Officials Fear Region Is Unprepared to Deal With It" (March 19). Positing an increase in meth use in the headline and body, the Post story ultimately conceded after its sensationalistic premise that no "reliable statistics" on the number of users existed. For this sin and many others, I drubbed the piece in this column.
 
The Post extended its losing streak on the drug beat yesterday with a naive and poorly sourced piece about the psychedelic properties of morning glory seeds ("A '60s Buzz Recycled: Teens Rediscover Morning Glories Can Be Used as a Hallucinogen," May 3).
 
Writing from the secret Post formula for lame drug journalism, reporter Theresa Vargas brings a deficit of intellectual curiosity to her 1,300-word assemblage of anecdotes. A bad Washington Post drug piece usually interviews at least one person who has tried the substance?preferably an ex-user who has repudiated drugs. But the best Vargas can muster is the father of a teen who knows another teen who consumed morning glory seeds!
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