When Meth Freaks Turn to Urban Planning…


Somehow I missed this great review by Reason Contributing Editor Glenn Garvin of PBS/Frontline's recent documentary on The Meth Epidemic (which originally aired a couple of weeks back). In a couple of paragraphs, Garvin zips through the case–familiar to anyone who doesn't drink from the same Kool-Aid fountain as drug czars and Newsweek editors–that meth use isn't, well, an epidemic. He concludes:

There's even an interview with a meth-head from Portland, Ore., who insists, without contradiction: "I think meth has destroyed this community. I think, in all reality, they need to take a bomb and blow it all up, it's that bad." Luckily for Portland, budget cuts have grounded PBS' fleet of B-1s.

The bombing of Portland is only slightly more extreme than most of the policy suggestions that come up in Frontline. Though the program didn't have time for a single interview with a meth-epidemic skeptic, it drags out every nutty drug warrior it can find in support of shutting down the production of pseudoephedrine, the chemical from which meth is most easily manufactured. If pseudoephedrine sounds familiar, that's because it's the active ingredient of most allergy and cold medicines. Frontline's drug Rambos say that anybody who buys those medicines should have to register with the government.

There's an epidemic here, all right—of lunacy. And bad journalism is not the cure.

Whole bit here.

Garvin's archive of Herald TV cols is here.