Drug Policy

What Is It About the Bush Administration That Makes Teenagers Want to Drop Acid?

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The Office of National Drug Control Policy brags that the latest Monitoring the Future Study, the results of which were released today, "shows that in 2008, illicit drug use among youth continued to decline." That's a questionable interpretation of the numbers, which actually show that past-month use of illegal drugs rose among eighth-graders and 12th-graders while falling among 10th-graders. But mainly drug czar John Walters wants to take credit for "a 25 percent reduction in overall youth drug use over the past seven years." As I explained last week, that sounds plausible only if you overlook the fact that drug use among teenagers began to decline years before George W. Bush took office.

And if Walters wants to take credit for every drop in drug use that occurs on his watch, he'll have to take the blame for the enormous increases in past-month LSD use among high school seniors and  past-month methamphetamine use among sophomores, both of which nearly doubled between 2007 and 2008 (hitting a whopping 1.1 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively). It's a shame he has to go out on such a note of failure.

Here's an interesting fact noticed by Bruce Mirken of the Marijuana Policy Project: If a high school sophomore reported smoking in the previous month, the dried plant material in his cigarette was more likely to have been marijuana (13.8 percent) than tobacco (12.3 percent). The latter is still more popular than the former among eighth-graders and high school seniors, but just barely. Mirken draws a lesson about prohibition's effectiveness at keeping kids away from drugs:

According to the new survey, current (i.e. past 30 days) marijuana use has nearly doubled among  8th graders since 1991, from 3.2 percent to 5.8 percent, with big increases among 10th and 12th graders,  too. During that same period, cigarette use dropped like a rock, with current cigarette smoking dropping from 14.3 percent to 6.8 percent among 8th graders, and dramatic drops in the older grades as well….

What the data show is that prohibition for adults is neither necessary nor effective at reducing use among kids. Last year over 775,000 Americans were arrested for possession of marijuana while zero were arrested for possession of cigarettes.

The 2008 Monitoring the Future data are available here (PDF).

NEXT: How Much Warmer Is It? Oh, About 0.4 Celsius (or about 0.72 degrees Fahrenheit)

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  1. Which lends credibility to… like, whatever, Man.

  2. …high-school students already have such a great grasp of reality that, like, marijuana, enhances it!

  3. Like Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Office of National Drug Control Policy press releases only make sense if you are really high.

  4. If a high school sophomore reported smoking in the previous month, the dried plant material in his cigarette was more likely to have been marijuana

    who could blame them…

  5. The Wall makes perfect sense at all times. Just remember that Roger Waters is wallowing in self-pity and blaming everyone else for his problems next time you listen, and you’ll get it.

  6. Dropping acid..like opened my mind man..how do we even know it’s real, like why is reality real. Can you hear me? I used to think drugs were morally dangerous but wow, Now I can see, It’s like you know what I’m thinking before I say it WAIT! I’m not saying anything I’m typing! How do my fingers know where to go on the keyboard, it’s like they’ve done this before, oh wow. Everything is so much brighter, was everything always this amazing?

    ITS SO GREAT TO BE ALIVE!

    That is why more people are dropping acid, it’s incredibly life-affirming.

  7. I would venture to guess that the increase in lsd use is not a true increase. I have been a pyshconaut for many years. and the LEGAL research chemicals 2c-i and 2c-e are pyshedellic and have been sold as acis, as well as doi and dob. Theese legal but hard to obtain chems which are becoming more popular, is what the increase is from. if you never took real acid. theese trips are close, but not close. i can tell every time not only if it is lsd 2cx or dox chems. but if the seller was being honest.

  8. SpongePaul,

    So is there still plenty of real LSD out there? I’m too old and poorly connected to know these days.

  9. Dear SpongePaul, I don’t think your fingers know where to go on the keyboard. You need to drop more acis.

  10. “increase in LSD use among the young”

    Well isn’t is obvious, they all want to be like Carrie Fisher.

    http://defamer.com/5106681/carrie-fisher-comes-full-circle

  11. who could blame them

    Or the poor down-and-out on the sidewalk who drinks all day, every day whenever he can. Doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

  12. What Is It About the Bush Administration That Makes Teenagers Want to Drop Acid?

    Cheap answer: Anything I see on acid can’t be any more fucked up than the Bush administration has been.

    More accurate answer: who the current president is/was has very little to do with my desire or lack thereof to get stoned, tripping, drunk, or wasted. I suspect most teenagers are the same.

  13. i think bush makes everyone want to do acid.

  14. It is my personal opinion that any thinking person who cares about understanding metaphysics in any meaningful sense ought to drop acid at least once in their lifetime.

    Hallucinogens are such a powerful tool for expanding consciousness. Responsible use could certainly benefit humankind.

  15. It is my personal opinion that any thinking person who cares about understanding metaphysics in any meaningful sense ought to drop acid at least once in their lifetime.

    Epistemology, maybe. Philosophy of mind, maybe. Metaphysics? Not so much IMO.

  16. PS But basically I agree.

  17. maybe I phrased it wrong; I am not a linguistic prescriptivist as I tend to use word based on what I think they mean, yah dig?

    What I really meant was for someone with sufficient educational basis to understand whatever they study, dropping acid may very well offer a breakthrough moment or at least allow you to think very differently.

    oh, and it’s also very fun!

  18. Hallucinogens are such a powerful tool for expanding consciousness

    I’ve had some powerful revelations while tripping or baked out of my skull. Then I came down and realized I had just been…tripping or baked.

    I did realize that the color red to you may not be the color red to me, however. But that’s because I’m protanomalous or deuteranomalous.

  19. Ho hum, John Walters is lying again.

    Maybe you should write a lengthy post every time he doesn’t lie instead, it would save lots of server space.

  20. Maybe kids are more likely to smoke marijuana than cigarettes because they’re getting smarter? By any objective measure, cigarettes are worse for you.

  21. Epistemology, maybe. Philosophy of mind, maybe. Metaphysics? Not so much IMO.

    You are absolutely right. For metaphysics, NMDA-blockade dissociatives (like DXM) are the way to go, as experiential ego death and the temporary loss of the ability to process external stimuli can help clear the conceptual mind of sensory residue.

    LSD, on the other hand, is more helpful, as you say, for epistemology, as it is thought that partial agonism of the 5HT2A receptor plays a role in disabling the higher level sensory filters that allow association with concepts, allowing a person to come as close as possible to experiencing “raw” sensory input.

    And for everything else, there are the cannabinoids.

  22. Where do I sign up for the LSD epistemology study?

  23. I tend to use word based on what I think they mean

  24. Stoners make rebuttals unnecessary | December 11, 2008, 7:51pm | #
    I tend to use word based on what I think they mean

    You don’t? Wow. Kant is freaking the fuck out right now, for you ave pierced the noumenal veil!

  25. oh, and it’s also very fun!

    That’s reason enough for the neo-puritans to hate it.

  26. I wonder if LSD use is up because supply is up. IIRC, it’s not trivial to make, and a few years ago there was a bust of the major suppliers, resulting in the market drying up. If somebody stepped in to fill the demand…capitalism at work!

  27. JD you are correct, however the timing is crucial. I think by most estimation there are less than a dozen manufacturers of LSD. Each manufacturer makes millions of doses in a single batch. It really doesn’t take much to dramatically increase the availability of LSD other than an efficient supply system. The only tricky part is shelf-life.

  28. JD and retard_flux, you are two are exactly right. A few suppliers were busted in Kansas(?) not long ago (I think six years) causing HUGE disruptions to the supply for the last five years or so. In my personal experience, LSD has went through a comeback, others have taken up the prophetic mantle of synthesizing it and acid will reach more people.

    Blaming increased numbers of LSD trips upon Bush is funny but bullshit (like everything else he does). It is just supply and demand finding that perfect market equilibrium.

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