Fake news on drugs: Post-truth and misinformation

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The aim of this article is to analyze the discourses about illicit drugs in internet publications whose content was identified as false in fact-checking platforms. This is a qualitative study based on discourse analysis procedures. From an internet search, 85 false news articles about drugs were selected. The analysis indicates that negative and alarmist approaches are the most common. The tragic outcome most frequently cited was death. Other negative outcomes were cited, such as: robberies, turning into a zombie, cancer, prostitution, sexually transmitted diseases, and even cannibalism. Three units of discourse were identified: satire about drugs with the potential to deceive; ‘drughead’ as a category of accusation; and an epidemic of illicit drug use. As a background to the problematization of the fake news phenomenon, we question conceptions that advocate the impossibility of understanding the real world and allow the academic/scientific knowledge to be equated with personal convictions, reinforcing irrational subjectivities that tend to strengthen the reception and spread of fake news in the most varied fields of knowledge.




Pasquim, H., Oliveira, M., & Soares, C. B. (2020). Fake news on drugs: Post-truth and misinformation. Saude e Sociedade, 29(2). https://doi.org/10.1590/s0104-12902020190342

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