A Tale of Two Drugs: The Media Reporting of Crack Cocaine and Opioid Addiction

A tale of two drugs attempts to examine the content of newspapers reporting on the drug epidemics of crack cocaine and opioids through a content analysis of the New York Times. This work analyzes newspaper articles from 1986 for crack cocaine and 2016 for the opioid epidemic. The terminology and the descriptions of the drug or the drug user is the focus. Crack cocaine and opioids contrast in the type of user that abuses the substance and the fear mongering that describes each drug. This work aims to highlight the reporting of drugs being described by journalists as drug epidemics and the sort of label that entails. To research if there exists a contrast between the criminality of crack cocaine users and the sympathy of opioid abusers. The critical race perspective of coded language that portrays subtle racist contradictions in the wording of the newspaper articles from the New York Times. Newspapers influence narratives on crime and thus impact policy and society.