A woman complained to the press watchdog after three sister dailies published inaccurate reports about the quality of cocaine in the United Kingdom.
Sabrina Dougall went to the Independent Press Standards Organisation over a story run by the Bristol Post, Leicester Mercury and Liverpool Echo which cited a report claiming that a large quantity of cocaine in the UK had been “cut” with levamisole, which is normally used as an animal de-wormer and can cause severe physical side effects in humans.
The complainant said that the article was inaccurate, as there have not been any studies conducted into the prevalence of levamisole in UK cocaine.
She added that the reports referenced in the article related to the quality of cocaine in the US and were published in 2015.
The dailies responded that the article had been provided by a news agency which relied on various sources to substantiate the claims made in the article.
They noted that the reports relied on in the article made reference to the increasing levels of levamisole in Europe and stated that in 2014 a UK government minister had been reported as stating around 80pc of UK cocaine contained levamisole.
However, they offered to publish a clarification stating the studies related to cocaine use in the USA rather than the UK, which resolved the issue to the complainant’s satisfaction before IPSO needed to adjudicate on the matter.
The full resolution statement can be read here.