Wednesday, January 21, 2004


There's been some discussion on the lists about Bush's claim that drug use had dropped by 11% among teenagers. For myself, I've seen a lot of polls and surveys that contradict each other and the way I figure it, if you could believe in the pollster's results, Dean would have won in Iowa. As always however, my pal Elmer Elevator has the definite word on this fallacy.

Pretend you've just been marched to the school cafeteria to take the Anonymous Student Drug Use Survey. Now check one:

12. If I say I use drugs on this survey,

A) absolutely nothing bad will happen to me
B) I will be praised and rewarded for my honesty
C) all kinds of really bad shit will probably happen to me

Survey designers and providers also know which side of their bread is buttered. They preferentially and intentionally design and return student surveys which hint to the School Board and the local newspapers that "we got trouble right here in River City!" because that pumps up the anti-drug political hysteria that keeps surveyors and drug testing labs and drug dog services in business.

And mathematical kind of guy that he is, Elmer also sums up the hidden cost of this policy.

Drug testing, as we've often noted here, shifts the pattern of student drug use from innocuous pot, which lingers in fat tissue for a month, to the fast-disappearing water-soluble substances like heroin, cocaine and meth, snort it on Friday night, be drug-free (or dead) by Monday.

Good point don't you think? Doesn't add up to good policy to me either.


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