Reconciling assholes for nearly a decade.

Drug czar?

John Walters White House drug czar said yesterday:

http://www.canada.com/national/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=020e0d44-65a5-4526-96d9-4c10d4fc9478

"The number of Americans admitted to hospital emergency wards because of marijuana use has doubled to 120,000 annually in the last five years, he said. Meanwhile, the number of teenagers seeking treatment for marijuana dependency has grown to the point where it is more than for all other drugs combined, including alcohol."

Where does he get those "facts" from? I have never heard of anyone being hospitalized for just marijuana use.
Permalink DJ 
March 11th, 2005
From the Buybull.
Permalink whippet 
March 11th, 2005
I think it is called "rectal statistics" when one pulls random numbers out of one's poop chute.
Permalink Peter 
March 11th, 2005
Probably making hay while the sun is shining.

With the recent RCMP events here, the anti-drug stance has become much more defendable.
Permalink Nigel 
March 11th, 2005
Basic 'facts' about marijuana.

http://www.nida.nih.gov/Infofax/marijuana.html
Permalink Rick Tang 
March 11th, 2005
Thanks for the link.

Shows how stats can be twisted. The NIDA website states:

"In 2002, marijuana was the third most commonly abused drug mentioned in drug-related hospital emergency department (ED) visits in the continental United States. Marijuana mentions rose significantly (24%) from 2000 to 2002, but showed no significant increase since 2001. Taking changes in population into account, marijuana mentions increased 139 percent from 1995 to 2002(4)."

Footnote:
"(4) These data are from the annual Drug Abuse Warning Network, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, DHHS. The survey provides information about emergency department visits that are induced by or related to the use of an illicit drug or the nonmedical use of a legal drug."


So basically a person goes to ER with a heroin, alcohol or other drug overdose and they ask what other drugs they use and they mention marijuana. This gets twisted by John Walters to mean the the ER visits were _caused _ by marijuana.

Just like Reefer Madness...
Permalink DJ 
March 11th, 2005
Drug Czar Us?
Permalink  
March 11th, 2005
If you only look at certain things it can be just as misleading as an outright lie. This is why we have the bit about 'the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth' when being sworn into court.

For instance, how does the fact that obesity (which increases the risk of heart attack and high blood pressure) relate to that info? Or the fact that we excercise less on average? Or that combining cannibis with other drugs and chemicals has been on the rise?

I have a relative involved in federal law. He's told me several stories in recent times of people putting snake poison and other chemicals into pot.... I'd have to guess that there would be some sort of difference in one and the other.

Not an argument for subtance abuse or anything, just the observation that things are always presented as the presenter pleases, not how the audience should necessarily relate to or assimilate the information into their choices and actions.
Permalink I am Jack's presentation pleasure 
March 11th, 2005
I read, a while ago (no link, sorry) that some university made a big ass study that showed that smokers who exercise have a better life expectancy than non smokers who don't exercise.
That has very little to do with this topic in itself, but its interesting that nothing ever came of it. No news reports etc. Because it flies in the face of "conventional wisdom" and political correctness. Or at least it did at the time.

Thing is, you can lie your ass off, and be believed as long as what you say is in harmony with the current ideas of what is right. And you can tell the truth, and not be believed if what you say runs counter to the current ideas of what is right.

The news media invests their prestige in everything they publish. And they want to spin everything into what ever makes them the most money.
Trying to get something across, even backed by hard data, that deflates whatever new scary thing the media is hyping is next to impossible.
Permalink Eric Debois 
March 11th, 2005
The plausible is the mortal enemy of the true.
Permalink Devil's Advocate 
March 11th, 2005
These lies have been going on forever -- PBS showed the racist beginnings of how politicians stirred entertainingly silly frenzies against marijuana.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/dope/etc/cron.html

In Germany, it's fairly legal to have small quantities of marijuana. And of course, Bush and Clinton both admitted to being potheads, though Clinton said he didn't inhale.

Some of Canada's local economies are actually fairly dependent on marijuana production, from what I hear.

I don't do drugs, because it's not worth it -- but it's obvious that cigarettes and alcohol are far more lethal.
Permalink Tayssir John Gabbour 
March 11th, 2005
I just recently quit my job at a state division of behavioral health. This division included "mental health" and "alcohol & drug abuse" sections. They both maintained databases of treatment information gathered from treatment facilities throughout the state. Collecting this information was necessary because the state has to report to the feds in order to get huge amounts of grant money to distribute to these treatment facilities.

Now, I can tell you with no doubt at all (and I can't tress this enough) that any statistics you hear coming out of any federal or state government entity on drug or alcohol abuse (or mental illness for that matter) is absolute pure unadulterated crap.

Our states systems were old and antiquated. They have been trying to upgrade them for 10 years with no luck yet. Reporting compliance is poor and unduplicated counts are impossible to get. I know our state is not the only "problem" state because we talked to other states extensively, trying find out how they did it. They didn't do it any better.

Also, the higher the number of people with these problems, the higher the grant awards. So numbers are pulled directly out of some managers/directors ass and rounded up....way up. Every time I pulled statistics from either of these databases I always footnoted it to the extreme with gotchas. These were always removed, numbers were adjusted to be more "realistic" and the completely bogus reports were sent to the feds.

End of sermon. Dang I'm glad I don't work for the government anymore. I'd rather be a starving ISV any day.
Permalink Deborah Miller 
March 12th, 2005
Thanks Debbie. No last names when whistle blowing, please.
Permalink AllanL5 
March 12th, 2005
The government is incompetent..LOL, I don't think that's really news. And, thank goodness, I don't work there anymore. Also, I don't think it's really possible to "blow the whistle" on the government. It might help temporarily but then they just continue doing what they do. A couple of people I know tried to do that once and they both failed.

I think what's true of our states reporting is true of all states to some extent. While there might be some states that report more accurate statistics, it would be the exception.

The stats that come out in the news from the feds are not even close to accurate but they seem to influence people a lot. If they only knew or would take time to determine where the stats came from and how they were collected and compiled they would never listen to them again.

Like they say...there are 3 kinds of lies..Lies, damned lies, and statistics.
Permalink Deborah Miller 
March 12th, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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