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The gateway to high society

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 07 July 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:116
  1. Rory Watson, freelance journalist (
  1. Brussels

    Youth magazines are a useful indicator of emerging trends in teen drug use, a study suggests

    Lifestyle magazines aimed at teenagers and young adults offer their readers mixed messages on drugs, invariably stressing the dangers of heroin and crack cocaine, while giving a more nuanced presentation of cannabis and ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine). A large number of drug references—about one third—in such publications are strictly neutral, striking neither a negative nor a positive attitude. These are some of the findings contained in a new thematic paper on the youth media published by the Lisbon based European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA (

    The authors examined 1763 references to drugs in 26 large circulation youth magazines published in five European Union member states—the United Kingdom, Ireland, Finland, Greece, and Portugal—over 10 months. Their research considered the extent to which this particular section of the media could provide information on new drug fashions and be used as a vehicle to prevent drug related damage to young people.

    “Because of the hidden (illegal or illicit) nature of drug use,” says the report, “a time …

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