Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"For kids, meth is death"

Can we stop this right now please? These idiotic statements that are so demonstrably untrue that they cast legit efforts to keep kids away from meth into the same silly light. When your “head of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention” is out spewing sewage, you know deeply in trouble you are for leadership in actually confronting the problem. The article here is actually pretty good, interesting stats on a poll of US youth and their perceptions of meth availability plus showing that meth use is only considered high in a few states and has been coming down as experience builds, even without government intervention, just as the history of drug cycles always shows. And it notes the effective MT campaign, which dealt with reality, not “meth is death” nonsense (more details here). It would have been nice if, for context, it had cited the research on pot, which Pam Clifton at Think Outside the Cage links to here, that shows that knowing pot is easily accessible does not translate into greater use among teens. In fact, use has been going down as accessibility has gone up, and actually seems to be heading on that course with meth even in this story. Of course, that would have stuck a finger in the eye of the kindergarten criminology of our CDCP head, wouldn’t it?

The meth problem is serious for that minority of kids who actually use the drug, not the 4 out of 5 who already know better. Soundbite policymaking, from Sonny Bono telling us that pot would make our faces slide off to those comparing our brains on drugs to skillet-flattened eggs, has never gotten to those remaining kids inclined to use drugs. So just stop. Using meth is not something a smart person would ever do, but it isn’t an automatic death sentence. Just talk to the kids straight like the MT campaign has, ditch the hyperbole no matter how testosteroned it makes you feel, let kids see what happens to friends and relatives who use the crap, and stop treating those who get sucked into the drug like they’re degenerate lepers by hauling them off to prison instead of getting them treatment, however many times they need it. And get rid of these federal leaders [sic] who spend more time dreaming up slogans than addressing the real problems that need addressing.

[Add-on: This is great. At a hearing on meth yesterday, Sen. Harkin from IA noted that the feds have cut back their funding of anti-drug programs 50% in the last five years, leaving the state with a “skeletal” anti-meth unit. Sometimes these things just write themselves.]

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