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Over 2 million teens about to die!

Via Jacob Sullum at Hit and Run
The government’s new “cool” anti-meth web site prominently links to Meth is Death, which lists these “facts”:

  • 1 in 7 high school students will try meth.
  • 99 percent of first-time meth users are hooked after just the first try.
  • Only 5 percent of meth addicts are able to kick it and stay away.
  • From the first hit to the last breath, the life expectancy of a habitual meth user is only 5 years.

So let’s do the math. According to census figures, there are 17 million high school students. That means that 2,428,571 of them will try meth and 2,404,285 of those will be instantly hooked. Five percent will be able to kick the habit, but the rest (2,284,070) will die in five years.
If this had any grounding in reality, it really would be an epidemic of unprecedented proportions.
But of course, none of those numbers are real (in fact, even the website contradicts itself constantly). It’s just more hype. More meth madness.
Remember, meth is a problem. [Note to Mark Kleiman: I am not claiming that meth is a non-problem.] But meth madness propaganda is potentially more dangerous. Just as crack hysteria caused a series of laws in the 80’s that led to the incarceration of horrific percentages of our black population, meth hysteria could do similar damage in the future. (Not to mention that fact that nobody who does drugs is likely to believe any real cautions from a government that lies so obviously and consistently.)

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