[This is the first post by my girlfriend and Coffeesh0p partner Mrs_Synch!]
What’s wrong with this article?
We can all debate until we’re blue in the face about alcohol, drugs, their legal alternatives, tobacco and whatever else is a source of controversy in this country. My problem with this article, however, is not that I disagree with the journalist’s point of view (although I do). It’s that if this is what counts as journalism these days (on the BBC news website no less!) I am, quite frankly, shocked and disappointed. These are some of the reasons I felt so strongly about it (I’ll address each point in the order they come in the article):
- ‘The pills or liquid’ — what? How vague is this? I know it’s only the second paragraph but read on and the trend continues. There are no names of the brands, retailers or wholesalers they are referring to. They mention none of the ingredients they claim are so dangerous apart from this deliberately controversial reference to BZP. As a herbal highs retailer in the UK, I can personally say that I know of no wholesalers that are willing to sell us any products containing BZP. Although the legal status of BZP does seem to be a bit dodgy (the article said it becomes illegal in March, but I’m pretty sure it’s tightly controlled here already), as far as herbal high sellers go BZP is not readily available in the UK. It is certainly not ‘one of the main ingredients in many products’ in the industry. This is quite simply a lie, and a demonstration of the lack of research done on the part of the journalist. Ten minutes on Google could have told her this is not the case.
- ‘Twenty-five-year-old Alex from Birmingham’ — Right, I see. So the whole substance of this piece comes from a girl who got pissed, took EIGHT unidentified legal pills, slept in a field all weekend and then got the shits. Come on BBC, this is really poor. The symptoms Alex lists are also, incidentally, ones you can expect from your common or garden hangover. Admittedly the guy who sold her the pills was obviously an idiot, but you get a great many idiots in bars who continue to serve people who are so drunk they can barely stand up. I have also never seen a pack of legal pills which do not explicitly carry the warning ‘Do not drink’, and by her own admission she and her friends were already drunk.
- “These things are packets of tablets and capsules sold as herbal highs, but are in no way herbal. These things are purely synthetic chemicals,” he said. — Yes, this is a quote from a doctor so it seems almost credible, but again, the vagueness of this point just makes it stupid. Yes, I’m sure there are pills out there that are advertised as herbal and aren’t. But certainly not all of them, and there are a large number of reputable retailers out there who actually do give a shit about the safety of what they sell. There is one very obvious example of legal pills that ARE undeniably entirely herbal, and that’s Happy Caps. If this journalist had done her research, she would have found out in minutes that Happy Caps are capsules, not tablets (so not even any harmless tabletting agents), and that they contain ground up herbs and extracts. Hell, you can SEE what’s inside them if you pull the gel cap apart, and it’s planty and quite definitely herbal.
Whilst this journalist clearly has an agenda (read: drugs are bad), this poorly written piece of tripe has given me no information whatsoever. I’m always interested to hear someone else’s point of view, and when I saw the title, was excited about reading it and possibly reporting on it for Coffeesh0p. Unfortunately, I was left disappointed in both this journalist and the standard of reporting that is obviously publishable these days. BBC news editors, you should be ashamed of yourselves!