Crazy chemist

According to the Home Office, legal highs are all the fault of ‘crazy chemists’ who look like the guy in this picture and spend their days cooking up chemicals in their garden sheds to sell to unsuspecting clubbers. You can tell he’s a ‘crazy’ chemist because he’s not wearing a lab coat or safety specs – maybe that’s why he’s only got one good eye and no hair left…

Now, I have nothing against campaigns to try and stop people snorting/smoking/popping pills of weird and wonderful chemicals, but it does seem to be playing up to the general public’s stereotypes of chemists. And this comes from a government who are keen to say how they want to encourage more science graduates. Perhaps the left hand should take a look at what the right hand is doing occasionally – yes, there are a few unscrupulous individuals who use their chemical knowledge to make drugs, but there are thousands more that do essential work and research. Tarring us all with the same brush is a little unfair, methinks, and mildly insulting.

A poster accompanying the campaign contains nuggets like ‘The Chemist is mashing up different chemicals and is flogging them under different names’ or ‘Back in his lab, the Chemist came up with a new “legal” chemical, naphyrone’.

The government’s ‘Talk to Frank‘ campaign on the dangers of drugs and how to kick the habit has been going for some time now – some people may remember a series of adverts last year, designed to warn people about cocaine. The adverts and an accompanying video series starred comedian David Mitchell as the voice of Pablo the drug mule dog. Quite effective, and much less insulting to chemists…

Phillip Broadwith

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