The federal government's new anti-drug Web site, mentioned by Nick earlier today, includes a conspicuous link to "Meth Is Death," a site maintained by the Tennessee District Attorneys' Association. Among other things, the site claims that "1 in 7 high school students will try meth"; "99 percent of first-time meth users are hooked after just the first try"; "only 5 percent of meth addicts are able to kick it and stay away"; and "the life expectancy of a habitual meth user is only 5 years." Forget, for the moment, that there is no basis for these numbers in the federal government's own data on drug use. To believe them, you would have to believe that hundreds of thousands of Americans in their late teens and early 20s are dying each year as a result of methamphetamine abuse–a fact that somehow has been overlooked in the media's eagerness to publicize the horrors of "meth mouth."
Addendum: Elsewhere on the DEA's site (which is called, with no trace of irony, "Just Think Twice"), we are warned that "discussion of the drug issue is sometimes filled with emotion, inaccuracies and wishful thinking. In many cases, what is represented as 'fact' is really fiction, and it's hard to notice the difference."