CORRECTING THE MEDIA
COMMENT FROM PROFESSOR NEIL McKEGANEY
on Drug Dealing and Communities
"As a result of an article that initially appeared in the Scotsman newspaper, a number of media outlets reported that I have proposed that drug dealers and drug dealing can have a number of positive impacts on communities.
I would like to make it clear that the report in which that view is set out was a summary of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation drugs research programme(1). Within that report it was noted that one of the research studies undertaken by researchers at Kings College had outlined their finding (not mine) that drug dealing could have some positive impacts on communities. It is misleading of sections of the media to present that view as being my own.
It would have been quite wrong, in summarising the Joseph Rowntree Foundation research, only to have included those views and those findings with which I personally concurred. Indeed, it is the responsibility of science to be dispassionate in relation to the evidence and to report findings irrespective of the likely reaction to those findings.
In terms of my own views on drug dealing and drug related matters more broadly, these are set out in the book Controversies in Drugs Policy and Practice which will be published by Palgrave later this year.
Finally, if we are to understand the impact of drug dealing on communities, it is important that the media and others do not demand of researchers that they only report those findings which dovetail with their preferred views. To do that would be to profoundly weaken the capacity of science to deepen our understanding of these and other social problems."
Professor of Drug Misuse Research
University of Glasgow
(1) Charlie Lloyd and Neil McKeganey (2010) Drugs Research: An Overview of Evidence and Questions for Policy. Joseph Rowntree Foundation