Interactive: From heroin to cocaine, this is how the media talks about drugs
Andrew Larson loves to hear people talk about drugs.
So much so that he created a tool that tracks Twitter conversations about marijuana, alcohol, LSD, and meth in real-time. Weed tweets generally dominate the other vices, with alcohol placing second. On the other end of the spectrum, almost nobody tweets about LSD, and honestly if you're on acid you should probably be outside playing, not staring at a screen. (Reflective surfaces are always a no-no when tripping. I mean, or so I've heard).
Now Larson is back with an interactive measuring in real-time which drugs news organizations talk about most.
By scraping the RSS feeds of twenty major news sites, from the New York Times to the Christian Science Monitor to Fox News, Larson found that marijuana is by far the vice the media talks about most, including alcohol. In fact, these results closely match those of his drug tweet tracker: At least when it comes to pot, the media may not be so disconnected from regular folks after all.
Larson also divides the charts into pharmaceuticals and street drugs. For prescription drugs, I was surprised by how much codeine's been in the news lately. Then I ran a Google News search and found countless links to a new study showing that emergency rooms still provide codeine to children almost as frequently as they did ten years ago, despite the discovery of many adverse effects on youngsters. Because I don't have kids, and frankly most the people I follow on Twitter probably don't have kids either, that's a story I probably would've missed had it not been for the tracker.
When looking at the more illicit wares, it appears that heroin is the most commonly talked-about drug by the media over the past thirty days. Indeed, heroin use is soaring in many states across the country. And thanks in part to the increased legalization of marijuana, medicinal or otherwise, Mexican drug cartels and farmers are turning more and more to heroin to help make up for lost pot profits.
Check out the full interactive below: