Drugs Inc.: An ethical review

Watch S1E1 “Cocaine” 

Eddie: 0:30

Loco: 16:35

Drugs Inc. is a documentary television program that explores the drug trafficking and production in major cities across the US and the world. The show details the lives of recreational drug users, addicts, and dealers, as well as, professional drug councilors and law enforcement. First airing in 2010, Drugs Inc., produced by Wall-to-Wall media, took an in-depth look into some of America’s most popular drugs. The first episode titled “Cocaine” uses the testimony sources numerous sources to show the global effect of the US cocaine market. However, one thing that Drugs Inc. has received criticism for is that fact that is shows real drug manufactures and drug users using illegal substances on television. In the episode “Cocaine”, there is footage of anonymous source “Loco” and “Eddie” detailing their illegal involvement in the drug industy. Both of these sources admit to committing felony level crimes and “Loco” is actually filmed smoking crack in his apartment during the source of his interview. Now, as a producer how can you decide whether or not to show illicit or illegal activity in your documentary, and what are the legal and ethical problems with doing so?

Using these two sources as a case study, the stakeholders would be production crew and the sources used. The production crew would be deemed more vulnerable because that have granted anonymity two sources that detail crimes they have committed. They have agreed to keep the identity of their sources anonymous, even if they engage or to illegal activity. The production crew also takes responsibility for verifying the accuracy of these sources statements. Since they have allowed Loco to used a presumed fake name, and the source Eddie was only depicted as a blacked silhouette, and had a scrambled voice, their statements because they cannot be verified on merit of an individual and could be fabricated. If Drugs Inc. wants to be a credible documentary sources they must do some initial background research to verify their sources stories with in reason. In addition, the sources are entrusting the production the production crew to use their testimony if a way that does not dmage their personal image or perceived public perception. Many popular real-crime TV shows, such as Dateline’s “To Catch a Predator”, or COPS, the narrative of the program is shown through the eyes of the prosecution. This can paint the perceived offender in a negative light with untold consequences. The Columbia Journalism Review published an article, titled “The Shame Game” in 2007, after 56-year-old Louis Conradt Jr., a long time country prosecutor in Terell, Texas committed a suicide during a filmed raid for “To Catch a Predator”. When police entered his house Conradt was sitting in his hallway with a semi-automatic handgun, “I’m not going to hurt anyone,” he reportedly told police, then fired a single bullet into his head. Raising the question whether this one sided reporting is fair to their targets. It was later reported the search warrant, used to raid Conradt’s house was not valid, and all evidence collected on Conradt would have been thrown out in a court of law. To avoid a similar circumstance, Drugs Inc. must not frame their subject in a way that presents a certain stigma.

One of the red flags in Drugs Inc. is the fact they agreed to protect anonymous sources from both legal issues and terrorist organizations. As shown in the Eddie interview the Mexican cartel have a history of being a ruthlessly violent organization. By exposing some of the cartels drug smuggling methods Eddie could be labeled as a snitch or a dissenter from the cartels. In either scenario, Eddie would most likely be killed for the information disclosed in his interview. Now since Eddie was granted anonymity, his identity is secure and reporters can use legal precedent to protect their source if questioned by the law. But if a cartel demands to know who Eddie was, and has the proper leverage to do so, a discussion in the newsroom will have to take place.

(I was not able to find out how international newsroom would actually deal with this. However, in the case of an international kidnapping the journalist’s home country typically takes over negotiations.)


Another red flag is whether or not the production staff should step in and stop illegal or dangerous activity they are filming. A New York Times article “On reality TV, producers face moral and legal dilemmas.” This article takes a look at the increasingly unpredictable and unstable situations that reality TV crews are finding themselves in, and what they should do about it. The article uses the show “Intervention” by A&E, where the subject, Pam, an alcoholic, deiced to get behind the wheel of her Pontiac Sunfire after having a few drinks. Now, is it the responsibility of the producer to stop her? Producer Sam Metter doesn’t think so. “This is their life with me or without me,” said Mettler, in his interview with the New York Times. And legally documentary crew cannot be help responsible because they are being filming in their subject’s homes, as they engage in activities that they would be pursuing regardless of whether a camera crew was there. “The law in the United States doesn’t require you to step in and save people,” said David Sternbach, counsel for litigation and intellectual property matters for A&E Television Networks, to the Time. “And it doesn’t require you to stop a crime that’s in the works.” So back to Loco, Mettler would argue that Loco would have smoked crack whether or not the camera crew was filming him. Thus, cameras should keep rolling and the footage should be used to show something about Loco’s character and dependence on the drug.

Personally, I agree with Mettler’s reasoning when it comes to intervening if it can be presumed that engaging in the illegal activity is part of the subject’s routine or general character. That being said, if a subject explicitly says that want to commit a crime because it would make good TV, or if the crime seeks to inflict intentional harm, it is the producer’s responsibility to stop filming and take control over the situation. Since both Pam and Loco committed illegal activity that did not aim to harm and individual directly, I would continue filming and use the footage. However, in Pam’s case I would ask her to rethink her decision because her actions put many people at risk.

In conclusion, there are many gray area that are associated with filming illegal activity. First comes with the added responsibility to protect the sources identity. The code to protect anonymous sources still applies in video production, even when an individual can clearly be seen. Second, producers have to be careful not to frame criminals or criminal suspects in a way that is overly damaging to their reputation. Doing so will lessen the unnecessary harm done to the individual. Finally, the producers need to know when a situation should not be filmed or necessary assistance is needed to control an individual. There is the most amount of gray area in the area, but is producer follow the general code of journalism ethics and aim to report a good story and minimize harm most situations will turn out okay.


10 Reasons Spring has come to UNH

1. ‘Errybody is out tanning on T-Hall lawn.


2. The motorcycle gang is parking on campus.


3. The snow is retreating.


4. Do you even lax bro?


5. Gabby Mourousas does.


6. Matt McKinnon ops to rip some disk.


7. Maddie Lamothe is making sunshine with her guitar.


8. Sean Coit can finally set up his sweet slack line.


9. Hannah Pender is rockin’ the Dunkies.


10. ‘Merica beautiful ‘Merica


Recreational Therapy with the Northeast Passage

Located in the basement of Hewitt Hall there is a small office space fill with wheelchairs and cubicle dividers. A hum of an electric wheelchair can be heard coming across the room to with a friendly greeting. “Welcome to the Northeast Passage. How can I help you?”

The Northeast Passage is a non-profit organization that has partnered with the University of New Hampshire to provide innovative solutions for individuals with disabilities.

In addition to other services the Northeast Passage provides organizes and maintains adaptive recreation equipment and events. By doing so the Northeast Passage is able to provide the opportunity for people with disabilities to become involved in outdoor and team recreation.

“We have four competitive sports teams and many other seasonal and intramural activities,” said Reilly Murphy, Administrative Assistant for Northeast Passage. “In the next couple weeks our competitive sports teams practicing in the Whitt or Hamel Rec Center on both Saturdays and Sundays. We also have an adaptive archery session in the field house last week.”

One popular intramural sport is handball. The Northeast Passage has been holding recreation games open to the public in the Hamel Rec. Center since 2000. However, in 2009 they partnered with UNH Campus Rec and now how several adaptive sports included within the intramural programs.

“We want to provide the opportunity for people with disabilities in our community to play recreational sports,”  Chandler Bullard, coach of the quad ruby team and a  Northeast Passage volunteer, said. “Since there are not enough people in the community to form a full team, we open the invitation to others and put them in chairs to level the playing field.”

In addition, wheelchair sports also student without disabilities the opportunity to develop different muscle groups that are not often used in other intramural sports.

“My arms got so tired,” said Sarah Elgar, a UNH student attending the night’s handball game. “It was definitely a great upper body workout.”

Adaptive sports in the intramural leagues have grown in popularity over the past few years. This year the first registered team of wheelchair handballers the “Frisbees” looks to clinch the championship.

“On a good night we typically get enough people to field at least three teams,” said Bullard. “The “Frisbees” are here every week, and the rest of the people come and go. We are always open to new people showing up.”

In addition to intramural sports in the recreation center the Northeast Passage sponsors several competitive adaptive sports teams. Many athletes on these teams are in the process of training for the Paralympics.

Originally having been called “murder-ball” quad rugby is one of the most popular and most physical wheelchair sports. It is played by over 25 countries worldwide.

“The chairs that look like mini tanks”, said coach Chandler Bullard, “Last time I went to show a play in this [points down to his chair] I broke a spoke.”

“We have a good team this year,” said Bullard. “This is the busiest time of the season and we have been playing well and finishing towards the top in all the tournament we have been to.”

On November 21st, the team hits the road again to play in another tournament in New York City, and travel to Washington D.C. after Thanksgiving.

In order to play on the team an athlete must be quadriplegic that is effected in at least three limbs. Each athlete is assigned classification points depending on the amount of movement they have in their arms. The value is on a scale ranging from 0.5-3.5, 0.5 being little or no function of the arms and 3.5 being the highest.

“I am not allowed to play more than eight classification on the court at one time, so you have to set your line ups accordingly,” said Bullard. “This can be a real challenge when you playing shorthanded with few subs.”

Like most adaptive sports quad rugby is played on regulation sized basketball court. Teams typically consist on 9-12 people with only 4 players from each team allowed on the court at a time.

“The game would really be better if it could be played on a larger court with more people, but we have to work with what available to us,” said Bullard. “Basketball courts have always been the most accessible area available for the disabled, so that has always been the set area where these games are played.”

Historically people with disabilities have always had easy access to basketball courts.  So as new adaptive sports were created  they were designed to use this resource.

In addition to quad rugby the Northeast Passage also sponsors a competitive sled hock, alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and power soccer.

Power soccer is specifically designed for individuals who are confined to an electric wheelchair. Many of the individuals who play are no able to use traditional wheelchairs so this provides them a chance to get involved.

“Even though it not a physically demanding sport power soccer is a good way to get people with more severe disabilities involved in recreational sports,” said Cam Forys, the assistant volunteer coach to the Northeast Passage power soccer team. “Athletes still are able to achieve an elevated heart rate do to the game time rush. This increased blood flow can be very beneficial to an individual who is permanently confined to a chair.”

Like quad rugby the game was designed to play on a basketball court with four players from each team.

The chairs are equipped with a plastic or metal guard in the front. Unlike real soccer this makes it hard for one player to dribble down to the field and juke around defenders. To compensate players must maintain good positioning and spacing so they can pass the ball and move as a unit down the court.

“Power soccer is cool because anyone who is familiar with soccer can look at it and instantly understand what is happening in the game,” said Forys.

The effect adaptive recreation has had on the community has been great. According to Murphy recreation can help prevent depression and increase social and community involvement for a person with disabilities. By providing many different forms of recreation and many different levels of entry Northeast Passage hopes provide recreational services to any one in the community who needs it, and help those interested to reach their goals.

UNH CREAM programs farms future farmers

Some of the earliest risers on campus are the students in the UNH Cooperative real Education in Agriculture Management (CREAM) program. The CREAM program is a group of 25-30 students who, with close supervision of their advisors, run a small dairy business and manage a herd of 20-30 Holstein dairy cows.

In the beginning of the semester each student is assign his or her own cow from the heard. In order to make sure that cows are properly cared for the students divided their chore list amongst themselves. Caroline Reckelhoff, biomedical science major/vet science major assigned to cow #656, stood directing cattle into the waiting area of the milking parlor.

“We have to heard our string of CREAM cows here for every milking,” said Reckelhoff. “While we heard the cows out other students are cleaning the stall, feeding, and milking.”

As part of their class the students meet twice a week for two hours and conduct a business run by the elected president. Each student is also assigned to a committee where they will spend 1/5 of the year managing finances, milk production, breeding, checking cows throughout the day, and planning events for the class.

“This class helps provide real world experience to student who wish to continue on to veterinary school, or with dairy farming,” said John Whitehouse, a faculty advisor for the CREAM program. “We also have a few business and liberal arts majors who take the course for the business experience.”

This year student Steven Cowley, a UNH history major is taking the course. Although he was unavailable to explain why he chose to.

The CREAM program is also know to may local dairy farmers in the area and help students get jobs after graduation. For students who wish to continue dairy farming the Fairchild Dairy Teaching and Research center hires many former students.

“We do have a good amount of former CREAMers here,” said Whitehouse. “I also keep in contact with students who work on other farms or decided to continue on to vet school.”

Agriculture Trends: Organic Milk

UK Soil Association Organic Reprot 2009

Over the past few years there has been organic dairy products have become quite the trend. In 2011 nearly 2.1 billion pounds of organic milk were sold growing 14.5% over the previous year. Since then the demand for organic milk has been on a steady increase. However, scientific studies have shown that there are no health benefits to organic milk so why is the increase in organic milk sales?

One possible cause could be the rumored health concerns spread about the use of rbST, an engineered version of the Bovine Growth Hormone that is naturally found in cattle. John Whitehouse, manage of the Fairchild Dairy Teaching & Research Center explains that this engineered hormone can be given to the cow to increase milk production. However, this method is rarely used especially in the northeast.

“I don’t think there is a plant in the Northeast that will even take that milk,” said Whitehouse. “I found that if you feed the cows well and take good care they will produce just as well without buying a product to help them.”

Whitehouse also adds that HP Hood, the buyer and packager the milk farmed at the Fairchild Center pays to have the farmers not use the hormone. Each truckload of milk is tested for trace sign of hormone usage and will be dumped if any trace amounts can be found.

To top it off the dairy farming industry and FDA both have done studies to prove the the consumption of rbST has no side effects on humans.

Another trending health concern revolves around the trace dosage of antibiotics that can be found in milk. Again, White house explains that this isn’t the case.

“We milk the treated cows separate from the others and none of that milk goes into our tank. Hood tests our milk on pick-up and back at the plant for any trace amounts of antibiotics in the milk. If any is found the whole truck is dumped and we don’t get paid,” said Whitehouse.

However, Nicole Guindon from the UNH Organic Dairy Research Farm explains that there are key differences between organic and conventional milk production.

“One of the most notable differences is the fact that we are required to have our animals out on pasture for at least 120 days per year.” Said Guindon. “The grasses in the pasture must also be treated with organic fertilizers and no pesticides.”

There is also a zero tolerance policy with the use of antibiotics. If a cow is to fall ill it but be treated with organic approved products or sold at auction. Any violation of this protocol can have the farm be stripped of its organic certification.

One of the reasons people may buy organic milk over conventional milk is simple, organic tastes better to some people. Dairy cows can turn almost any type of feed into milk. So by letting the cows graze in a pasture rather than feeding processed grains, some consumer can taste more fresh and natural milk.

Milking at Fairchild Dairy Center


From the hours of 4:30am – 6:00 and 3:30pm – 5:00 pm this is the noise one can here at the Fairchild Dairy Teaching &Research Center. It is during these milking times UNH student Jerica Rich can be found with iodine stained figures and manure cover boots running the milking machine.

Jerica is a biomedical science/pre-vet major. She stared working in the dairy barn this semester as a student in Cooperative Real Education in Agricultural Management or CREAM program. She hasn’t been working the milking shift long but says the process is pretty simple and easy to get down after being shown a few times.

During her shift Jerica milks about 80 cows and collects about 150-200 gallons of milk. One of her favorite cows is Kona. According to Jerica, Kona is in her second or third year as a production cow and she is one of the top-producing cows in the herd. Each day Kona gives about 120 pounds, or 15 gallons of milk per day. The milk from the milking parlor travels across the ceiling into a large tank that fills two rooms. Farm manager John Whitehouse explains what happens to the milk once it is here.

Before processing HP Hood tests all of the milk for traces of antibiotics and artificial growth hormone. Any traces of either of these products the milk will not be purchased or will be dumped without paying the farmers. Whitehouse is certain that the milk that comes out of these cows is pure clean and safe.

To find out more about convention styling dairy farms and organic milk check out this article here.