3 Drug Scares Undermined by New Survey Data


Denver Post video

New data from the CDC's biennial National Youth Risk Behavior Survey contradict, or at least complicate, three drug-related narratives that have been sources of alarm in recent years:

1. Liberalization of marijuana laws "sends the wrong message" to teenagers, encouraging them to smoke pot. "Current" (past-month) marijuana use by high school students fell between 1995 and 2013, a period during which 21 states legalized marijuana for medical use and two of them legalized it for recreational use as well. Although the successful 2012 legalization campaigns in Colorado and Washington received a great deal of national attention, marijuana use by teenagers "did not change significantly" between 2011 and 2013.

2. The country is in the midst of a "heroin epidemic." If so, it is not reflected in the numbers from this survey, which indicate that the percentage of high school students who had tried heroin fell between 2012 and 2013. From 1999 through 2013 there was no significant trend either way. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which covers Americans 12 and older, did detect an increase in past-year use from 2011 to 2012 (the most recent year for which data are available), but it was not exactly explosive: The estimated number of past-month users rose from 281,000 to 335,000. And while that survey probably misses a substantial number of heavy users, even the highest estimates (based on indirect evidence) suggest that heroin addicts represent less than 0.5 percent of the population 12 and older.

3. E-cigarettes are a "gateway" to smoking for teenagers. The share of high school students who reported smoking cigarettes in the previous month fell by 43 percent between 1991 and 2013. That includes a drop from 18.1 percent in 2011 to 15.7 percent in 2013, despite an increase in e-cigarette experimentation during that period. The same study that measured an increase in e-cigarette use, the Youth Tobacco Survey, likewise found a continuing decline in smoking.

NEXT: Would a Judge Allow 100 Gang Members to Show Up in Court in Solidarity With Killers?

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  1. And alcohol is a gateway to… oh, wait, nothing because it’s legal.

    1. Alcohol is the gateway to unwanted pregnancy! And getting teabagged after you pass out. Maybe a gorilla mask instead.

      1. You can’t fool me. That government anti-drug commercial told me marijuana causes unwanted, teenage pregnancy.

        1. Wrong. I cause unwanted teenage pregnancy. Marijuana may or may not be involved.

          Say, do you have a teenage daughter? I know ProL does.

          1. But she’s an honors student. Isn’t your type more from a broken home, living under a bridge somewhere?

            1. A little from column A, a little from column B. I like to change things up. Why would I limit my choices?

            2. I believe the term you’re looking for is “used up skank”

            3. Besides, it’s much more about driving ProL out of his mind than anything else. Which reminds me, I have to change the tapes in the hidden cameras I installed in his house.

            4. I wouldn’t worry too much about ProLib’s pride & joy. Very few girls have gotten pregnant from watching a grown man sob into a pillow for half an hour.

              1. I don’t have normal tears, Hugh. Just think about that for a minute.

                1. That must sting. It stings, you know.

                  1. It doesn’t sting me.

    2. Alcohol is a gateway to waking up in the morning beside a fugly woman, and nothing is worse than that!

      1. Go to bed with Bo Derek, wake up with Bo Diddly!

  2. Buzzfeed Virus now reaching epidemic proportions. Squirrels suspected carriers. Please exercise extreme caution approaching any numbers until the outbreak can be contained.

  3. But we still have to give drug warriors all our money or we will be awash in a wave of drug addicts raping and murdering their way across the country, right? They’re the only thing keeping us safe and they’re super serious about it.

  4. It occurs to me that if I died and went to heaven, I’d probably find God Himself doing blow off of an angels perfect little ass.

    Drug abusers will abuse drugs no matter how legal they are. The less available they are, the more violent they must become to secure the drugs they abuse.

    Unless America secures every scrap of land on Earth that can be used to grow and cultivate plants, and then destroys every building large enough to house a growing facility or a synthesis laboratory, there will always be drugs like these available to those who would use them.

    Therefore, Fuck The War On Drugs. And Fuck You, People Who Support The War On Drugs.

    1. God’s too busy watching his 15 billion year old self playing simulation game. He’s probably getting bored of waiting for us bipedal monkeys, who took 14.99999 billion years to come along, to become intelligent.

  5. It sucks to live in an irrational society where the government tells everyone what they can and can’t do based on baseless moral panics.

    Why can’t we live in a rational society where the government tells everyone what they can and can’t do based on highly suspect self-reported behavioral surveys?

    1. I’d prefer a rational society run by our supreme robot overlords.

    2. You just want to watch all those people pee in a cup yourself.

      1. Give the man some credit, I’m sure he’d enjoy responsibly, which would include filming and selling video clips using xtube’s monetization system. Those videos would hit a lot of creepy porn impulse buttons.

        1. You’re right, jesse. I didn’t mean for it to sound judgmental.

          1. It’s ok, I’m sure he’ll still thank you for being the worst in his AVN Award acceptance speech for Patient 13-599j peeing in a cup best film in the crowded “forced medical procedure involving hidden camera watersports” category.

            I wouldn’t be surprised if he got a Palme d’Or. He truly is an artist.

      2. Look, if it’s wrong to think that all policy decisions should be based on pee, then I don’t want to be right.

      3. Before I can pass judgement, I’d have to see his response to the gubbment’s RFP so I could compare it to R Kelly’s proposal.

        My guess is that Hugh’s pitch would be based on evil profit motives, while R Kelly’s pitch would be based on his love for the process.

  6. Tell us how well prohibition worked in keeping any substance out of the hands of minors.
    How many kids lost out on educational aid because of a youthful indiscretion.
    Prohibition is a morally bankrupt policy.

  7. Liberalization of marijuana laws “sends the wrong message” to teenagers

    That’s right, it would send the message that we, your betters, are not in complete charge of every single aspect of your life. That body of yours, that mind of yours? We own it. Best you learn early, before someone gets hurt.

    1. That body? You didn’t build that.

  8. Marijuana is a gateway alright. It’s a gateway to the black market.

    That’s why cops don’t want to see it legal. Without being able to bust pot smokers, it would be difficult for cops to find people who sell hard drugs. Ironically, if marijuana was legal, it would be very difficult for the average person to find access to hard drugs.

    If the goal was less hard drug use, then the logical thing to do would be to close the door to the black market. But that’s not the goal. The goal is to put people in cages after stealing everything they own.

  9. David Brat says something totally uncontroversial, journalists freak the fuck out.


    In one piece of writing, Brat refers to the government as having “a monopoly on the use of force.” As National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke noted, several journalists?all of them covering politics, all of them working for reputed institutions like the New York Daily News, Politico and the Wall Street Journal, all of them presumably college-educated?pounced on his use of the phrase as a portent of dangerous extremism.

    What’s wrong with this picture, America, is that the concept of the state having “a monopoly on the [legitimate] use of force” is a quotation from the highly reputed and important German sociologist Max Weber, and is a concept that is absolutely basic to our modern understanding of the State. Anyone who has taken polisci 101 or sociology 101 or political philosophy 101 or history of ideas 101 ought to have encountered the phrase.

    It almost seems like our ‘intellectual classes’ mostly consist of morons who managed to insinuate themselves into positions of privilege through mindlessly adhering the right views.


      No shit, that above sentence encapsulates the sputtering, incoherent left-wing take on Brat from commentators at Salon, Huffington Post, Raw Story, etc.

      Why? Because those media outlets are literally pulling quotes out of context and posting them up for clicks. Gotta love ‘journalism’ today.

    2. Journalists were always venal and partisan, but now they’re stupid as fuck (well, stupider) and totally uneducated. Not a good combination.

      1. Gore Vidal, who was himself a venal idiot and an anti-Semite, once said that journalism and politics have always been inhabited by our most ambitious mediocrities.

        It’s the only time Vidal was right about anything.

        1. Are you saying Myra Breckinridge was wrong?!?

    3. Idiots at the Wall Street Journal too:…..rat-so-far

      1. You just don’t see it, do you, you liberthuglican bastard?

        See, a non-Jew mentioned Hitler in an article he wrote 3 years ago. He then beat a Jew in an election.

        Do I have to connect the dots for you, you pathetic Sheep-person?

    4. I hear Brat has a 666 birthmark.

      1. I hear that George W. Bush’s soul cohabits his body like something out of 1984’s classic All of Me.

        1. “Just because my grandfather didn’t rape the environment and exploit the workers doesn’t make me a peasant. And it’s not that he didn’t want to rape the environment and exploit the workers, I’m sure he did. It’s just that as a barber, he didn’t have that much opportunity.”

  10. Hey everyone, you got your surprised faces ready for this?

    The FAKE SCANDAL involving the disappearance of two years worth of IRS emails has gotten zero mention at Huffington Post, Salon, Raw Story, and ThinkProgress despite being reported on by all the letter networks.

    1. So it’s like a FAKE SCANDAL nesting doll.

  11. CNN yields to common sense, revises bullshit school shooting list. Progressives outraged at the use of logic

    The piece went on to question Everytown’s definition of what constitutes a school shooting. The gun safety group included in its figures any incident in which “a firearm was discharged inside a school building or on school or campus grounds, as documented in publicly reported news accounts. This includes assaults, homicides, suicides, and accidental shootings.”

    The CNN piece disagreed with this methodology, stating that, by its definition, a school shooting is only when “a minor or adult actively shooting inside or near a school.” CNN said that the gun safety group should not include “personal arguments, accidents and alleged gang activities and drug deals” in its numbers, which would drop the number of school shootings from approximately one per week since Newtown to one every five weeks.

    The media watchdog group Media Matters said that CNN’s about-face on the numbers was the result of a campaign by conservatives to discredit Everytown and other gun safety advocates.

    Yes, because it is intellectually dishonest, to say the least, to put gang shootings, shootings that happen on the weekend, and shootings that are the result of accident or incidents that began outside of school, in the same category as Sandy Hook.

    1. Since when does intellectual honesty mean anything to them??

      1. I actually think that CNN, unlike MSNBC actually does care about making money.

    2. The media watchdog group Media Matters said that CNN’s about-face on the numbers was the result of a campaign by conservatives to discredit Everytown and other gun safety advocates.

      ‘Discredit’ in this context means ‘prove they’re lying.’

      1. francis mcmaster ? 3 hours ago
        Thank You CNN, those 59+ children aren’t really gone, and their parents, friends and siblings aren’t living a nightmare, and all the children are safe in their classrooms. Now will everyone support NPR?

        Your argument is invalid, Irish. Because it FEELS wrong.

    3. A fresh load of some Revolutionary Truth to Power!

      jeffvernon ? an hour ago
      Any school shooting that involves the use of a gun is a shooting. The NRA nuts really are out of their freaking minds — and very dangerous. Wake up America.

      TheLizardKing jeffvernon ? an hour ago
      “Any school shooting that involves the use of a gun is a shooting.”

      The problem is that even a casual look at that list shows several that aren’t “school shootings” for example #’s 8 and 9

      jeffvernon TheLizardKing ? 40 minutes ago
      Who cares. The NRA and their political influence is still total BS. Guns are in the hands of too many mentally ill people today, and NO citizen needs high powered rifles and ammunition. The US’s infatuation with guns is ridiculous and those who feel they need an arsenal in their home are mentally ill. Next.

      ‘Don’t inconvenience me with your facts! My emotional perception of reality tells me what’s true.’

      1. The “Next.” at the end is the best part. Discussion is over, bitches!

      2. I like deer hunting with a slingshot. It’s more challenging, and the deer doesn’t die. Except when it starves to death in winter.

    4. Quick question: Where do most of these school shootings occur? Like, which political party tends to run the places that have high amounts of violence in the schools?

      I eagerly await my answer.

      1. Like, which political party tends to run the places that have high amounts of violence in the schools?

        The People’s Democratic Party?

  12. Dude seems to know what he is talking about.

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