Drug Use Up for Boomers, Down for Teens 

Drug Use Up for Boomers, Down for Teens 
Posted by CN Staff on September 07, 2006 at 08:42:27 PT
By The Associated Press
Source: Associated Press
Washington, DC -- Some moms and dads might want to take a lesson from their kids: Just say no. The government reported Thursday that 4.4% of baby boomers ages 50 to 59 indicated that they had used illicit drugs in the past month. It marks the third consecutive yearly increase recorded for that age group by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.Meanwhile, illicit drug use among young teens went down for the third consecutive year  from 11.6% in 2002 to 9.9% in 2005.
"Rarely have we seen a story like this where this is such an obvious contrast as one generation goes off stage right, and entering stage left is a generation that learned a lesson somehow and they're doing something very different," said David Murray, special assistant to the director for the Office of National Drug Control Policy.The annual survey on drug use and health involves interviews of about 67,500 people. It provides an important snapshot of how many Americans drink, smoke and use drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine.Overall, drug use remained relatively unchanged among Americans age 12 and older in 2005. About 19.7 million Americans reported they had used an illicit drug in the past month, which represented a rise from 7.9% to 8.1%. The increase was not only due to the boomers, but an increase was also seen among those 18-25, the age category that always ranks highest when it comes to illicit drug use.Among the 18-25 group, drug use rose from 19.4% to 20.1%. Federal officials commenting on the report emphasized the drop in use among younger teens without citing the increase in the next older age group."The news today is there is a fundamental shift in drug use among young people in America," Assistant Surgeon General Eric Broderick said in a statement.Murray called the 18-25 group the gauntlet through which everybody runs. He said the peak of drug use among youth in the United States occurred in the late 1970s."And they brought it with them like baggage when they hit 50 and 60," Murray said.Drug use by baby boomers increased from 2.7% in 2002 to 4.4% last year. Marijuana was by far their drug of choice, Murray said.That's true overall. There were 14.6 million people who reported using marijuana in the past month, about 2.4 million cocaine users and 6.4 million people who used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes, such as pain relievers, tranquilizers or sedatives. In 60% of those cases, the drugs came from a relative or friend for free. Only 4.3% reported buying the drug from a drug dealer or other stranger.While drug use went up slightly in '05, so did alcohol use. Slightly more than half of Americans age 12 and older reported being current drinkers of alcohol. That translates to 126 million people, up from 121 million people the year before.Officials noted that alcohol use among those 12-17 did decline from 17.6% to 16.5%.The percentage of Americans who acknowledged driving drunk at least once in the past year also dropped slightly in 2005  from 13.5% to 13%.Meanwhile, tobacco use held steady at about 29.4%, even though among youths 12-17, tobacco use did drop from 14.4% to 13.1%.Source: Associated Press (Wire)Published: September 7, 2006Copyright: 2006 Associated Press CannabisNews Justice Archives
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Comment #43 posted by museman on September 10, 2006 at 12:22:25 PT
Big Brother 
"Soon, every PC everywhere may contain such devices."If so, I hereby volunteer my services to remove them. $20 minimum, or some real good bud.
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Comment #42 posted by unkat27 on September 10, 2006 at 08:15:34 PT
In-Built Mics are Spy-Bugs
In-built mics are spy-bugs, period. By simply letting this thing happen, every dang person with a PC is letting themselves be spied on in the privacy of their own homes and offices 100 percent of the time.It's big brother, period. This kind of device was once considered illegal and only used with court-order clearance by the government. Soon, every PC everywhere may contain such devices. Say hello to 1984 and big brother. If you need a PC, there may be no avoiding it. If you don't and value your privacy more, you may have to sacrifice it for more security from the big pigs.
Ashcroft raking in big bucks in DHS contracts
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Comment #41 posted by FoM on September 09, 2006 at 15:02:19 PT
I'm back online now. I guess I don't believe anything I say anywhere or anyhow is safe. I am not paranoid but I just don't believe anyone can say they are ever 100 percent secure.
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Comment #40 posted by whig on September 09, 2006 at 11:39:54 PT
This is the people's internet. We just have to not lose it.There are encryption protocols and ways of communicating pseudonymously a lot more effectively than chatting on a public board like this. But the openness of a forum like CNews is one of its strengths because it is a way for people to find one another. There is no good in battening down against observation unless you are in hiding and retreat
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Comment #39 posted by museman on September 09, 2006 at 11:03:47 PT
the solution
We need to set up a peoples internet before it's too late.
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Comment #38 posted by unkat27 on September 09, 2006 at 10:46:35 PT
Online, FoM?
I don't think you get it, yet. If there is an in-built mic in a PC, the user doesn't have to be online to be spied on. All that would be necesary would be for the computer to be on and working offline. Online, offline, it wouldn't matter. As long as the com is on they can listen in on everything, including private conversations. It's a terrible breach of privacy.
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Comment #37 posted by whig on September 08, 2006 at 12:14:36 PT
Big brother is watching
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Comment #36 posted by FoM on September 08, 2006 at 12:05:10 PT
I guess I expect it. I am not shocked. I have always thought that nothing is private online. That doesn't mean that I like it just that I believe that's the way it is.
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Comment #35 posted by unkat27 on September 08, 2006 at 11:34:59 PT
Infowars article
FoM, the infowars article is suggesting that all Microsoft computers may soon have in-built mics for the purpose of learning more about the consumers for commercial sales, but points out that such in-built mics may also be used as spyware by the government for other reasons. Sam #7 and lombar #16 have it right. The potential for abuse of such spyware is unlimited and the government is sure to do so. Personally, it creeps me out to think that some government pig might be listening in on all my conversations. What i find so hard to believe is that the American people could just sit back and let this stuff happen. Duh? How dang gullible can people be?Just gonna pin my latest answer to this question at the end here. The moronic majority really needs some real intelligence.
US Foreign and Domestic Policy all Corporate
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Comment #34 posted by FoM on September 08, 2006 at 08:52:40 PT
A Correction
I meant divide and conquer.
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Comment #33 posted by FoM on September 08, 2006 at 08:51:56 PT
Trust oh yes it was way different back then. Remember how people would pick up a hitchhiker and not be afraid? I do. There was a desire to get to meet and learn about different ways that people saw the world and America. It sure isn't that way anymore. There is power in numbers but conquer and divide serves purposes in this time.
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Comment #32 posted by BGreen on September 08, 2006 at 08:40:06 PT
We trusted a lot more back in the seventies
We didn't have to worry about LE snitches so we were a lot more open and trusting with strangers. It was commonplace to openly share cannabis with the strangers sitting around you at concerts and with strangers at parties.That all changed really quickly in the eighties, and today there is such a must-deserved distrust of strangers that most people have a very small group of trusted friends who would never disclose something as freedom threatening such as felony cannabis use.People have to worry too much about losing their jobs, professional licenses, homes, property and having their kids put in foster care to admit cannabis use to anybody but their most trusted friends.The numbers of cannabis users in the US are so much larger than would ever admit it. I have no doubts whatsoever.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #31 posted by Commonsense on September 08, 2006 at 07:16:03 PT
From the 2005 NSDUH:"The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) obtains information on nine different categories of illicit drug use: use of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, and inhalants; and the nonmedical use of prescription-type pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives."This is a survey conducted by the federal government. It may not be illegal under California state law to use marijuana in accordance with the laws promulgated under Prop 215, but it's still technically against federal law to grow or possess or deliver marijuana. At least to the feds, marijuana is an illicit drug. Raw marijuana and other marijuana preparations are considered illicit substances for the purpose of the NSDUH. Respondents are specifically asked about using marijuana, hash, and so on. These are very detailed surveys and I don't see how you could really be honest and deny marijuana use. They aren't just asking you whether you use illegal drugs, but specifically whether you have ever used marijuana, cocaine, LSD, etc., and if so have you used that particular drug in the past year, how many times, have you used in the past month and if so how often, etc. I doubt there are many if any using legally under state laws who deny use just because they don't understand that marijuana is one of the illicit substances the surveyors are asking about. No doubt a lot of people are less than forthcoming about illegal activity when speaking to federal workers who come to their homes, but I doubt the existance of state allowed medical marijuana is skewing these results much. 
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Comment #30 posted by whig on September 08, 2006 at 01:00:05 PT
I'm not really following the interpretations that get put on statistics like that. So much rests on definitions, and what is considered an illicit drug. Here in California cannabis is not illicit if you are approved for medical marijuana by a physician. I would be completely honest in denying that I use any illegal drugs whatsoever.
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Comment #29 posted by Commonsense on September 08, 2006 at 00:06:51 PT
A correction
In my "I don't believe it" post below I said, "According to the NSDUH drug use for that age group [65 and older] actually doubled from 2004 to 2005, going from .4% to .5%." That was a typo. It actually increased from .4% to .8%. 
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Comment #28 posted by Commonsense on September 07, 2006 at 23:54:10 PT
One more point.
It is interesting to note though that while only a hair over 6% of those 60 to 64 who admit prior drug use also admit current drug use, a little over 7% of those 65 and older who admit prior drug use admit current drug use. That may just be a statistical anomoly. In 2004 only around 5% of those 65 and older who admitted past illicit drug use also admitted current use. But, as we see Baby Boomers and those a little older who played around with illegal drugs in their youth get into retirement age, we might see a higher percentage of them using illegal drugs than their younger counterparts who are still in the workforce. If your kids are all grown and you aren't worried about the wrong people finding out or drug tests at work, there isn't be much holding you back if you want to get nostalgic and smoke a little weed. As Baby Boomers retire we might see a lot more of them smoking a little ganja to ease boredom and the aches and pains of old age and enhance the pleasure of retirement recreation. Why not? Not only might more do it but fewer will feel the need to deny use on these government surveys because they really won't have much to lose. Already by the time of the 2005 survey around a quarter of a million of those 65 and older would have admitted on the NSDUH that they are current marijuana smokers, and close to 700,000 of these seniors would have admitted marijuana use in the year preceding the survey. When that number gets on up into the millions, and that will happen in the next few years, things might change a little in the political climate for marijuana. People don't want to put grandma and grandpa in jail for smoking a little weed, and politicians know that older people out vote younger people by significant margins. Things are going to change. I sort of have to wonder if the ONDCP hasn't figured this out and are already using their deceptive practices to get a jump on demonizing Baby Boomers so that when they all retire no one will care about coming down on them for smoking weed. Maybe David Murray isn't so stupid afterall. Maybe he knows good and well Boomers aren't using more drugs but he's just setting things up for more "us against them" bs to fight against the growing marijuana legalization movement. 
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Comment #27 posted by Commonsense on September 07, 2006 at 23:09:53 PT
I don't believe it.
I don't believe more Baby Boomers are using drugs. In fact, I bet less are because of the simple fact that the older people get the less likely they are to use illicit drugs. This David Murray from the ONDCP is just an idiot and the reporter who wrote this story isn't much better. Murray says more Boomers are using illicit drugs, yet he's basing this on the increase in the percentage of those 50 through 59 who admit drug use in the month preceding the drug survey. They NSDUH is conducted in June of every year and the results come out more than a year later. In June of 2005 there were 59 year olds who were born in 1945. In June of 2004 there were more in the 50 to 59 group who were born before the Baby Boom that began in 1946, and there were even more born before the boom in June of 2003. He's basing his claim that more Boomers are using drugs on an age bracket that is only now in 2006 comprised solely of Baby Boomers. What's really happening is not that more Baby Boomers are doing drugs, but that those born before drug use really took off are getting older, leaving the 50 to 59 bracket and moving into 60 to 64 bracket, and they are slowly but surely being replaced in the 50 to 59 year old bracket by people who were of prime drug taking age in the 1960's and 1970's when illicit drug use really took off in this country. It would be just as easy to say senior citizens are taking up drug use like never before. According to the NSDUH drug use for that age group actually doubled from 2004 to 2005, going from .4% to .5%. There again though what is really happening is that those 65 and older who came of age before drug use became popular in this country are dying off and slowly but surely being replaced by people young enough to have joined in the party in the 60's and 70's. If you were 65 in June of 2005, you were 25 in June of 1965. In 2004 only 8.3% of those 65 and older reported that they had used illicit drugs at some point in their lives. That number jumped to 10.3% in 2005. Very few of these people still use illegal drugs. The fact is that as people get older fewer and fewer tend to use illegal drugs. Almost 40% of 18 year old kids who reported drug use at some point in their lives reported having used drugs in the month before the 2005 survey. For the most part the percentage of those who have tried drugs who still use them drops as people increase in age though. Of those 35 to 39, only about 13% of those who admit to past drug use admit having used illegal drugs in the past month. Only a little over 10% of those 45 to 49 who admit past drug use admit use in the past month though, and only a little over 6% of those 60 to 64 who admit past illegal drug use admit to use in the past month. These surveys are kind of bogus and all across the board people are probably underreporting their drug use a good bit, but the trend is clear, the older people get the less likely they are to use illegal drugs even if they did use drugs at some point in their lives. Baby Boomers are no different than people born before or after the period from 1946 to 1964 in this regard. David Murray is an idiot, and this reporter needs a ruler slap to the hand for not checking the "facts" as provided by the ONDCP.Here's a link to the illicit drug use by detailed age category table from the 2005 NSDUH:
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Comment #26 posted by ekim on September 07, 2006 at 18:47:09 PT
someone here callen for check points
 in MI -- ck points have been foughtoff for years now with the new 0 standard coming out of the S.C.of MI tolerance must be a guiding princapal not ratting.many are working for change that means like beer and cigs,we must ask the youth to wait. we are a country of laws and when your time comes you may take your place with all those that have the right to vote and change laws.its working -- the act of caging a human for using cannabis is being seen for the evil it is.
the following is by untold heros of Rainbow Farm i can only print the story as i had not the backbone to attend myself.
thank you Melody
 The faithful gathered once again this Labor Day, 2006, to remember our fallen brothers, Tom Crosslin and Rollie Rohm --- to honor Rainbow Farm, the dream they called into being with magic and sweat; to mourn their deaths at the hand of a machine that cares only for power and control; and to remind the community and the Authorities once again that we will not forget.  The demonstration was a microcosm of the Farm itself: hippies and hillbillies; multiple generations of families; old friends and newcomers; Libertarians, tree huggers, and true hemp believers; folks who helped build Rainbow Farm, and some who watched helplessly while it burned. And, as always of course, the police and the press.  Reporters and photographers showed up from the South Bend Tribune and the Elkhart Truth, along with a crew from channel 22 news who did a live report at 6 o'clock. And the good folks of Cass County can rest easy, knowing that this dangerous collection of tie dyed, bubble-blowing, rainbow-painted sign-holders was well supervised at their expense. Several county cruisers, including one pulling a patrol boat, passed through the intersection repeatedly during the two hours we occupied that corner; a couple of fellows who appeared to be courthouse security officers guarded the rear of the building and occasionally peeked around the wall at us then ducked under cover again, muttering on their two-way radios; a Cassopolis police car sat, almost out of sight behind the bank across the street, for about 45 minutes before circling the block to park in front of the bank. Several folks walked among the group with a quiet, "Heads up," as he left his car and crossed the street to us.  Each year it seems the Authorities have some minor rule which requires them to approach us and make their presence known (as though we couldn't see them): keep moving, don't block the sidewalk, stay off the grass, whatever. The specifics always change, and what was acceptable last year may not be so this year; so we always go out, do whatever we want, and wait for them to come tell us how we have to do it differently. It seems to be a ritual equivalent of dogs circling and sniffing one another to decide if they want to fight, and it's never gone further than some raised hairs and maybe a low growl or two.  This particular officer was very easygoing: "I don't want to be out here any more than you folks want me here, so if you could just help me out and stay on the sidewalk away from the edge of the road, I'd appreciate it." And, being reasonable people, we did. Kathy the artist, who was decorating people with rainbows, even convinced the nice policeman to let her draw one on his arm, although he did change his mind with two colors left to go. I think he may have noticed the tv camera across the street filming the whole encounter, because he went back to his car mumbling something about seeing him in the unemployment line.  During the second hour of the vigil, several smaller crews broke off from the main group and began crossing the street --- with the lights, of course --- covering all four corners of the intersection, back and forth, sometimes slowing traffic, but always obeying the signals. Response from the public was probably 95% positive through out the demo, with honks, thumbs up, peace signs and power fists vastly outnumbering the negative comments and gestures. I always think of the folks going by as the unseen demonstrators: many of them are afraid (or, let's face it, just unmotivated), to stand on the corner themselves, but it is important to them that we're there, and their support always helps to elevate the vibe. Some of them drive by repeatedly, just to honk and wave again. One young man put his hand on my shoulder and gave it a squeeze as I crossed the street. "You roll on, girl, roll on. Tell them folks how it is."  We had been told over the weekend that Scott Teter, who has been presiding over child support collections in Michigan since leaving his County Persecutor position, believes that things have cooled down enough in Cass County that he can come back and run for judge in the next elections. Of course rumours always run rampant, but the source on this one seemed fairly reliable, so we alerted as many locals as we could while standing there, and I want to encourage everyone in the movement to watch that situation. Just from public reaction ("Oh, hell no!" was a common one), I don't think emotions have died down as much as he may think.  As the last reporter left, crossing against the light, the youngest of our group --- a boy about ten years old --- called after him, "Careful with that jaywalking! The police are watching, and they shoot to kill around here!"  Following the vigil, about a dozen of us met on Deadhead Hill, a corner of the Rainbow Farm property bordering Kirk Lake Road and state land. Until this year, we've always just driven in the front gate, but we had heard the property was subdivided and much of it sold. A modular home now stands on the exact spot where Tom and Rollie made their last stand, the site of the old farmhouse.  We stood on the hill and looked across the small valley at the remnants of the old stage, wondering if the people we could see there were strangers or friends. Hollering across the space to them, we established that they were some of the new owners, and Trena called, "This is the fifth anniversary of when Tom and Rollie were murdered, and we just came here to say a prayer."  The answer came back, a simple statement that broke something free in my heart: "We knew you folks would be coming. You're all welcome here." We looked at each other in happy disbelief. Walking down that overgrown slope to meet them in the middle of the valley, we felt like natives greeting the newcomers who have come to settle on what was once our land and always will be --- not by any legal contract, but by our common relationship with it --- meeting those settlers and finding them neighborly and compassionate. Their names were Jerry and Sue, from Elkhart, and it turns out that the locals among us were familiar with Jerry's family, even went to school with his brother. They had bought the property knowing a little of its history, and Sue had read Burning Rainbow Farm out of curiosity --- so they knew the story, and even recognized the names of some of our group. The piece of land they own includes the old stage, and they plan to leave it there and even replace the stolen floorboards, "because we know people are going to want to come here, and why not? We could feel this is a special place. You're not hurting anything at all, and you're always welcome here."  It felt like true Rainbow magic. Jerry and Sue left us for their family barbecue, and we called in the dusk with circles of remembrance --- a few of us on the stage with a bottle of homemade wine, reading the tributes written on the uprights; others sitting in the grass on the knoll. Eventually the two groups came together for a prayer circle in the middle, with everyone offering some words as they were moved to do so.  We straggled back to our cars in twos and threes, and stretched goodbyes past moonrise. It's always been hard to leave the Farm. There's one more joint to smoke, one more story to tell, another address to jot down, another friend to hug, tokens to exchange. It's hard to leave the spirit of peace and freedom that seems to come from the land and the people together, for the dangers and pitfalls of Babylon.  As always, I'm grateful to have had the chance to experience that spirit in its full joy, sorrow, outrage, and healing unity.  Thanks to those of you who helped make the magic --- in person, in spirit, in memory.  Thanks, Jerry and Sue.  Thanks, Tom. Thanks, Rollie.
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Comment #25 posted by freewillks on September 07, 2006 at 18:45:26 PT
I did not know.
20.1 percent of the population uses illegal drugs.29.4 percent of the population uses tobacoI would have assumed tobaco was much higher in relation to drugs. 9.3 percent stands between legal and illegal.
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Comment #24 posted by FoM on September 07, 2006 at 16:25:23 PT
Storm Crow 
You covered it all. Very good.
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Comment #23 posted by Storm Crow on September 07, 2006 at 16:23:18 PT
Baby Boomers and Pot
I wonder just how much of the boomer's boom in pot use is due to the fact that we are an aging population with all the aches and pains that come with old age? If people find that pot makes them feel better (even dodging the question of does it heal them) people are going to use it! If the early studies are right and THC or CBD or other cannabinoids actually destroy amaloid plaques (alzheimer's), kill various types of cancer cells, lower blood pressure, slow the onset of ALS, and prevent diabetic retinopathy (a leading cause of blindness), to name just a few conditions that cannabis may be good for-well, you're darn right we boomers are going to use it! We'd be fools not to use it!
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Comment #22 posted by whig on September 07, 2006 at 16:07:31 PT
So if we figure roughly half the people surveyed answered dishonestly when asked whether they had committed a felony that they had, drunk driving, then that 13% becomes 26%. In the past year.What percentage have ever driven drunk? Over half?I think this is important news, and something I hadn't been taking seriously enough before. When the progressive movement started a hundred years ago (well, it started before then but it became politically prominent in the early 20th century) there was a tie-in with the temperance movement that wanted to begin alcohol prohibition. Alcohol is terribly destructive. If anything should have been prohibited, it is alcohol.But it did not work. It made for violence far exceeding the damage of alcohol itself. So prohibition of alcohol ended. And in the meantime, we had lost our alternatives as well. Cannabis was still prohibited.So now we are in a period of alcoholism, an era when the public consciousness is so drenched in alcohol that it cannot reason, it cannot tell fiction from reality, it is controlled by the lies of the murderers.And we need cannabis. It needs to be an alternative. No prohibition, just preference.
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Comment #21 posted by BGreen on September 07, 2006 at 14:42:07 PT
Paul uses a lot more words and better writing
but I think we agree about this silly and dubious survey.Great minds think alike. LOLJust kidding, Paul. Thanks for your work and for sharing your thoughts here at CNews.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #20 posted by paul armentano on September 07, 2006 at 14:05:19 PT
Take SAMHSA's numbers with a grain of salt
Of Surveys and SpinBy Paul Armentano, AlterNet. Posted October 4, 2004.Here's the good news. Only a tiny percentage of Americans indulge in the use of illicit, so called "hard" drugs like heroin and cocaine, according to annual survey data released this month by the Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).Here's the bad news. The government's figures are not to be taken seriously.In 2003, "an estimated 2.3 million (1.0 percent of the US population aged 12 or older) were current cocaine users, 604,000 of whom used crack," SAMHSA reported in its latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health. In addition, "Hallucinogens were used by 1.0 millions persons, and there were an estimated 119,000 current heroin users." Responding to the survey, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson called the data "encouraging."A more appropriate response might have been: "Balderdash!"While it's virtually impossible to accurately estimate what percentage of Americans engage in illicit drug use (or virtually any consensual, unregulated illicit activity), SAMHSA's numbers are particularly suspect. For starters, there's the matter of the survey's methodology."Conducted by the Federal Government since 1971, the survey collects data by administering questionnaires to a representative sample of the population through face-to-face interviews at their places of residence," the authors explain.Disregarding that many of America's more egregious drug users do not possess consistent, long-term "places of residence" (some are homeless or enrolled in substance abuse treatment programs, and many are incarcerated on drug-related or other criminal charges) and, thus, are never polled by SAMHSA's researchers, the larger problem still remains. How likely is it that the average American drug consumer is going to truthfully admit to a representative of the federal government  one standing in their living room, no less  that they engage in illicit activity punishable by a lengthy prison term?Judging by the fact that of the 130,605 addresses screened by SAMHSA, more than half refused to answer their questions, the answer is: not likely.Additionally, among those who did respond, it's arguable that a sizable percentage significantly underreported their illicit drug use. It would be hard to believe that they wouldn't. According to a White House briefing paper analyzing SAMHSA's figures regarding Americans alcohol and tobacco use, respondents have historically underreported their usage of these two legal substances by as much as 30 to 50 percent. (Revenues from alcohol and tobacco taxes allow researchers to cross-check respondents admitted usage patterns with actual annual consumption rates; naturally, the prohibited status of controlled substances prevents researchers from conducting a similar comparative analysis on illicit drugs.) Based on this fact, one can only assume that respondents underreport their illicit drug consumption by similar or even greater margins.Annual arrest figures from the FBI cast further doubt on the feds' dubious figures. For example, of the nearly 1.6 million drug abuse violations reported annually, roughly 725,000 are for heroin and cocaine violations. (Federal statistics lump the two drugs together.) Put another way, if one is to accept SAMHSA's survey data at face value, then approximately one-third of the nation's total population of cocaine users and perhaps even a greater percentage of America's heroin users have been arrested within the past year, and virtually every US cocaine and heroin user could theoretically be behind bars by 2005.Given that Americans' illicit drug use has continued virtually unabated despite decades of ever-increasing anti-drug enforcement and prosecutions (more than 4.5 million Americans have been arrested for drug-related charges since 2000 and approximately 450,000 are now incarcerated on drug-related charges) one would have to assume that there exists a far larger pool of Americans engaging in the use of these substances than SAMHSA would like to admit.Interestingly, the lone figured touted by SAMHSA that appears to be based somewhat in reality is that 97 million Americans  more than 40 percent of the US population age 12 or older  have used marijuana during their lifetimes. (SAMHSA estimates the number of current marijuana users to be 14.6 million; a figure that appears low, but not absurdly low when checked against annual marijuana arrest data and interdiction data.)Perhaps this is because most respondents, like many politicians, have fewer misgivings about admitting to past transgressions than they do divulging recent or current behavior. Or perhaps it's because marijuana consumption  particularly past use of the drug  carries far less of a social stigma than the use of other illicit substances.Whatever the case, it is apparent that Americans clearly delineate between the use of marijuana and the use of more dangerous substances like cocaine and heroin. Roughly one out of every two Americans self-identify as having used the former (so much for any "deterrent effect" of prohibition) versus only a fraction of the population  though hardly as small a percentage as SAMHSA estimates  ever likely having used the latter.Predictably, federal officials remain unwilling to either cast criticism or objectively interpret the latest round of SAMHSA numbers. Whatever figures the agency churns out  accurate or not  their response is unwavering: continue doing more of the same (total federal and state anti-drug spending now totals more than $40 billion per year), only more so.Regrettably, history shows us that's a strategy doomed to fail, regardless of how one chooses to interpret SAMHSA's patently fuzzy data.Paul Armentano is the senior policy analyst for the NORML Foundation in Washington, DC.
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Comment #19 posted by BGreen on September 07, 2006 at 13:18:35 PT
One question comes to mind
Who, in their right mind, would honestly answer a government sponsored questionnaire and confess in writing to committing a felony?I wouldn't, Mrs. Green wouldn't, none of the people lucky enough to be my friends would, so who in the heck would actually narc on themselves?Self-incrimination in itself means that the numbers are substantially higher than reported, and I'd be willing to guess that nobody with an IQ of 80 or above would ever admit to committing a felony on that questionnaire.The Reverend Bud (don't ask & don't tell) Green
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Comment #18 posted by b4daylight on September 07, 2006 at 12:37:31 PT
Slightly more than half of Americans age 12 and older reported being current drinkers of alcohol. That translates to 126 million people, up from 121 million people the year before.126 million people, first how many kids can't by law drink alcohol. I think this figure is skewed. You are almost talking about a whole decade of people. Second, I think we need to rexamine the drug problem. It seems this would be your number one priority. We are spending billions on only on 14.6 million people who reported using marijuana in the past month.Seems to me it is a witch hunt, target the week and minorities. Imagine if they tried to do this with alcohol?>Lastly maybe they should ask the 126 million people if they drive after they drink any alcohol. I myself would recomend a zero tolerance on alcohol when driving. Where is the mention of Meth?
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Comment #17 posted by lombar on September 07, 2006 at 11:58:17 PT
Creative spelling error...
ou US citizens really half to kick these freedom-haters out of your government..half is supposed to be have;)
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Comment #16 posted by lombar on September 07, 2006 at 11:53:25 PT
Some hacker
Someone will invent a program or program a firewall to block outgoing audio transmissions. My iMac has a built in microphone but if the government wants to hear me cursing their names, thats fine. It's orwellian and creepy but there are countermeasures and they will be taken.White noise, backround music, looped porn sounds while your not home(or better, recorded samples of taking a crap)... just off the top of my head. Or better than that, contrive stuff to set listeners up to waste their time... disable microphones.. write and boycott google... (so much for that share value comrade).If half the population watches the other half, who watches the watchers? Who watches their watcher? You US citizens really half to kick these freedom-haters out of your government... people of past generations would have already stormed the castle with torches and pitchforks but I guess fritos and Survivor keep everyone distracted.
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Comment #15 posted by whig on September 07, 2006 at 11:17:58 PT
I agree.
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Comment #14 posted by goneposthole on September 07, 2006 at 11:15:27 PT
I have known people who have died in car accidents due to negligence and reckless driving. I also know people who have been the cause of accidents that have resulted in the deaths of friends and loved ones. It is a heavy burden to shake. They carry the guilt with them for the rest of their lives. It shortens their lives, too. The circumstances surrounding such incidents are a psychological burden for those who are guilty of not necessarily wrong doing, but just a terrible mistake.Whether she did make a mistake or not, I do have sympathy for Laura Bush. That stuff doesn't go away, the information remains. I can't hold it against her.Everybody makes mistakes. 
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Comment #13 posted by whig on September 07, 2006 at 11:14:53 PT
Altering consciousness
Why cannabis is safer:
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on September 07, 2006 at 10:58:48 PT
Driving Drunk
Oh my when we saw CSNY I couldn't believe the amount of people that were drunk and still drinking more beer. I was just sitting there watching them consume $7 a cup of beer and wondered if they can't seem to stay on their feet how in the world were they going to drive home. I guess that goes on at football games and sports events and things like that too. 
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Comment #11 posted by whig on September 07, 2006 at 10:53:13 PT
goneposthole you doubt she was drunk?
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Comment #10 posted by whig on September 07, 2006 at 10:51:01 PT
Look at this statistic
"The percentage of Americans who acknowledged driving drunk at least once in the past year also dropped slightly in 2005  from 13.5% to 13%."That is frankly astonishing.13% of Americans acknowledge driving drunk.That's not the number of Americans who drive drunk.It's the ones who acknowledge it.I know many people who drive drunk and don't even acknowledge it to themselves.They say they are fine, they only had 2 or 3 drinks. Whatever.Do you know if there are statistics on the number of drunk drivers there are on the road as a percentage of drivers?
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on September 07, 2006 at 10:44:57 PT
Sam, I don't like that name either. I am in that age but it sounds like we puffed up and got fat or something. I am proud to be a part of the 60s generation though. My son did not do drugs. I told him the downfall of drugs and he listened. 
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on September 07, 2006 at 10:42:24 PT
It's how they win. They stir hate and then it's simple to divide and conquer. Republicans seem to be so angry at everything. They don't seem to like much of anything it seems to me.
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Comment #7 posted by Sam Adams on September 07, 2006 at 10:37:18 PT
Unkat, thanks for forwarding that article, extremely interesting. At this point, we can still opt-out of cable boxes or PCs that have microphones or collect data, or cars that have Onstar, or automatic toll transponders.But how long will it be before every car comes with a black box recorder and satellite transponder? Not long.Regarding this article, I wanted to say that this whole "Boomer" thing is really starting to make me angry.  It's "boomer" parents that spoil their kids, use drugs, etc.Everything in this country has to be spun as an "us vs. them" mentality. Why not "Parents are becoming over-indulgent with their kids these days, what can WE do about it".  Instead it's "Boomer generation spoils their kids, what a bunch of jerks they are". Everything has to be presented as a partisan, wedge issue. To me it's fascinating that this is occurring at the same time the middle class is systematically destroyed. Salaries of executives and the corporate elite have exploded while everyone else's salary is lowered. In this generation, both parents must work to live the same lifestyle of single-parent families of the previous generations.  Each year the total productivity of the country is sapped as state, federal, and local government parasites take more of our paychecks.  Oil-related industries are accelerating the amount of oil & coal burned every year as our atmosphere and climate are permanently ruined. Turning citizens against each other is the only way to get away with stealing & oppressing them more. If and when anyone notices that we're all slaves, it will be too late. The government stands ready with enough militarized police & prisons to handle any kind of uprising or internal political challenge.Another fascinating aspect of the infowars article is how the shift is made from commercial marketing to police state oppression.  It was Madison Avenue that initially came up with labeling each generation for marketing purposes. Mainly because "Generation X" became the first generation of young people enslaved by marketing. Now these terms are used politically by the media to divide and conquer our common, free society.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on September 07, 2006 at 10:08:40 PT
That happens. It's ok. Long urls won't work unless you paste them in the message itself. I still don't understand what it is saying. I don't have a mic but do listen to music. Do computers have mics that I can't see somewhere?
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Comment #5 posted by unkat27 on September 07, 2006 at 09:57:40 PT
Sorry bout that.
That's the first time one of my links failed. The URL is too long, I guess. The article is presently in the headlines at infowars.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on September 07, 2006 at 09:42:46 PT
I don't ever use any audio because I felt it wouldn't be secure. I guess I don't understand what it means. The link didn't work so I can't check the article. It was too long for the place in the comment to put it.
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Comment #3 posted by unkat27 on September 07, 2006 at 09:30:31 PT
Beware Com-enors: New Spy Tech in Coms
I can't believe this. Google has enabled the government to spy on all of us with its new in-built microphones to listen in on user's background noise. They claim its only being used to listen to radios and tv, but what about people talking?How long before the NSA, FBI and DEA start using this stuff to spy on people in the privacy of their homes? Or are they using it now?
Government, Industry To Use Computer Microphones To Spy On 150 Million Americans
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on September 07, 2006 at 09:01:34 PT
Hippie Prisons
I guess that drugs didn't kill enough people so they will need to build old age hippie prisons. Goodness then they will have to supply health care for all of them. They will need nurses instead of jailers. How much has the war cost since Nixon? How much more will it cost for those old age hippie prisons I wonder?
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Comment #1 posted by goneposthole on September 07, 2006 at 08:56:20 PT
driving drunk
If you do, then you are arrested and off to the hoosegow you go. The latest government ad campaign pays it all of the lip service. Yeah, right. Unless, of course, you're Paris Hilton, then you are released on your own recognizance.Just like George Bush, so many years ago way back when.Don't use drugs, don't drink and drive.Smoke cannabis. It's a life saver.
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