Is media framing of coverage of prescription drug abuse a reflection of cultural diffusion?
LaVail, Katherine Hart
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Abuse, or off-label use, of prescription opioids is the fastest-growing drug problem facing America. Medical professionals, public health professionals, and the media are prone to framing the problem as epidemic. Such framing has the potential to impact social understandings and responses to such drug abuse. This project sought to determine how the issue of prescription opioid abuse was framed over time in Internet and broadcast news coverage from 1997 to 2008. A content analysis was conducted on the framing of coverage of prescription opioid abuse applying principles of diffusion of innovations. Dominant frames of health and relative advantage emerged within the coverage, both used frequently to reinforce an overarching narrative of addiction. Future directions for research are discussed.