— Melissa Mesku
If this conflicts with journalism norms, then it’s time to question those norms.
In other news, this week saw the launch of a new magazine, Filter. It could easily be described as a drug politics magazine, if the words “drug politics magazine” rolled easily off the tongue. For how deeply entrenched drug use is and how deeply drug policy affects our lives, there is still little in the way of compelling drug journalism, and still fewer drug magazines. The leading stories at launch reflect this gulf. Each article could double as a manifesto, both in headline and content. Christopher Moraff’s ‘Drug Reporters Know This is a War―So Why Don’t We Cover it Like One?’ asks why so many of the respected journalists writing on drugs “don’t even know what a bag of heroin looks like.” In ‘As a Cop, I Know Police Contempt for Drug Users is Still Widespread—And it Comes from the Top,’ Diane Goldstein chronicles how the status quo is alive and well despite “dramatic change” in public attitudes towards drugs. And the main article, Tessie Castillo’s ‘The Invisible Majority: People Whose Drug Use is Not Problematic,’ defines a paradigm shift in the making. Going broad, she explains the racist and classist origins of the drug addict stigma, and juxtaposes it with the story of everyday professionals who are long-term daily heroin users. Castillo writes, “Perhaps reasonable drug policy will someday arrive, but in the meantime, it is difficult to reverse decades of fear, hype and false information.” It seems Filter itself is taking on that task.