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Press and media coverage

Sometimes stories about a drug and alcohol-related death are reported in the media – in local or national newspapers, or on the radio or television.

This can be very upsetting if you feel that the death of your relative or friend is being treated as a sensation, or used to sell papers. It can help to issue a statement, and there are some other things you can do to minimise the pressure on you, your family and your friends. If you feel you or your loved one has been treated unfairly in the media there are ways you can complain.

Newspapers, magazines, radio and television journalists believe there is a public interest in reporting stories where someone dies unexpectedly.  This can happen when someone dies from using alcohol and/or drugs. Stories are not always fair and objective – journalists may focus on cases where the person who died was young and attractive, or if they come from certain kinds of backgrounds. Sometimes the story will be reported as a warning or educational message to drug users, without considering the effect on those who loved the person who died.  

Media interest may be difficult, or even impossible, to avoid. Sometimes people  feel that the death becomes a public event, and disrespectful coverage can add to pain following a bereavement.