Monday, May 15, 2006

Meth Myth I

I will always stick by my line that: Drugs can make you high, drugs can make you die. I teach that as a fact. I have seen it in the ER and in the Coroner’s Office.

But just as the evils of “demon rum” were over-hyped in the 30s (I remember doing a dramatic interp reading on that topic in speech contests in high school), the evils of drugs (general and specific) can be over-hyped today. It does no one any good to over-do the presentation on the very serious problems associated with drug and alcohol use. When the “audience” can see even a bit of it as a lie, they will often assume that the whole thing is a lie and ignore it all. If you say using a certain drug will always lead to addiction or always lead to other drugs, or will cause the user to become some crazed drug-using fiend, the audience only has to know one individual (although they likely know several) for whom that is not true and your argument collapses like a house of cards.

I plan to write more on the current “meth madness” media blitz, but let me first throw out a link to SAMHSA data (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) that demonstrates the likelihood that it is a growing epidemic is false with no raise in their stats of first time users 1971 through 2003. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that meth is bad and that it is a problem, but I think we would be better served concentrating on the 2.7 million chronic cocaine users and 1 million heroin addicts in this country rather than a probably over-hyped “newsy” drug problem. Although strategies that decrease the use of a given drug very likely will decrease the use of other drugs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One of the things that made meth a very newsy item in Oregon aside from the number of users was a series that out local paper did. Use and abuse was growing in the west but no one looked at why. The paper found that users were link to purity of the drug and the purity could have been controlled by the feds.
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