UK Comic Books For Drug Addicts Come Under Fire

Wed, August 7th, 2002 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Beau Yarbrough, Columnist

[Drug Comic]It sounds like something from the 1960s underground comix scene. A 28 page comic, "Better Injecting" is described by its publisher as a "Step-by-step guide to injecting heroin."

"Better Injecting" is only one of over 60 comics published by UK drug counseling service Lifeline. Other titles include "Overdosing - How to Cope in a Crisis" and "The Lads Go Mad in Amsterdam." Each of the books includes "tips for safer use," as well as warnings that include a note that excessive marijuana use may lead to users gaining weight.

Clearly, this is not your father's drug counseling service.

Lifeline has been publishing the books for 15 years, but have recently come under fire when it was revealed that $6.3 million of their annual budget comes from the British government. Ironically, the revelation came out as the government was reviewing the funds it spends on drug programs as part of plans to loosen some of its drug laws.

[Drug Comic]"Lifeline offers up a drug culture that is blame free, and taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for it," Conservative Party Member of Parliament Angela Watkinson was quoted as saying by the Wall Street Journal. The majority of Lifeline's funding comes from drug outreach program contracts with the city of Manchester.

"Our aim is to provide credible up-to-date information free from any political agenda or moralizing," a statement on the Lifeline Web site reads. "This on its own will not stop people using drugs, there is no evidence that any form of mass media will do this. However you have to start somewhere."

 
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