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Scientists? We don’t need no stinkin’ scientists.

The Drug Czar’s “blog” continues its orgy of back-to-school “advice,” this time from Assistant Deputy Secretary Kevin Jennings.

It may be obvious but, as students across the country head back to school and colleges this fall, it bears repeating: young people who use alcohol and other drugs are much more likely to fail at school than those who don’t. Tragically, many are addicted to failure.

I’m hardly going to win a Nobel Prize for making that statement, but some cold hard facts from the Centers for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey paint a very stark picture:

• Young people who are getting D’s and F’s are about twice as likely to be current alcohol users than those who get A’s are (62% versus 32%, respectively)

• Young people who are getting D’s and F’s are about five times as likely to be current marijuana users than those who get A’s are (48% versus 10% respectively)

• Young people who are getting D’s and F’s are a stunning 13 times as likely to be current cocaine users than those who get A’s are (13% versus 1% respectively)

No, you’re not going to win a Nobel Prize. Nobel prize winners have to be achievers in science, which means that they have to at least be basically literate in it.

Notice how the data he presents very specifically does not support his thesis.

He starts by implying that the use of drugs necessarily leads to failure in school, and then for his data shows not that those who use drugs are more likely to get bad grades, but rather that those who get bad grades are more likely to use drugs (an entirely different proposition).

Of course, lots of things could explain the data. The notion that A students might be less likely to admit drug use in a survey. The fact that students who are uninterested in applying themselves to school (cutting classes, not participating in extra-curricular activities) will have more access to and time for drugs.

Also note that while Jennings mentions “school and colleges” and ambiguously implies that the data applies to “young people,” it appears that the data he references only applies to middle and high school students.

Here’s where it gets good…

Jennings knows he isn’t supposed to use the data this way.

Now the researchers will say we cannot infer causation from these data associations.

Yep, he knows it and even flaunts it, but it doesn’t bother him because he works for the ONDCP and… Scientists? We don’t need no stinkin’ scientists!

You see, he’s got something better than science. He’s got… common sense!

And here’s how it works:

…but common sense tell us it’s hard to study effectively if you are drunk or high.

Brilliant. And hard to refute.

Hey, I was a student once, and I admit that it could be hard to study effectively if you were heavily impaired by a drug.

But let’s take this common sense thing a step further…

It’s also hard to study effectively when you’re attending church services. I’ve tried it, but the minister looks at you funny, and if you’ve got your eyes closed during the prayer like you’re supposed to, it’s almost impossible to show your work on the math problems.

Maybe Kevin Jennings is suggesting that young people shouldn’t go to church.

You know what else common sense tells you? It’s hard to study effectively while you’re taking a crap. Trying to balance your textbooks on the edge of the tub… writing legibly about food groups while grunting…

Hey, I’ve got an idea. What if a young person didn’t spend all their time in church services or on the crapper? What if… there were other hours of the day when they could focus on studying effectively? What a novel idea that apparently completely slipped by “common sense boy.”

No, I don’t recommend that young people use drugs that impair them. But if they do, I recommend that they use them with caution and moderation. And whether they use drugs or not, I highly recommend that they carve aside some quality time to study effectively in order to not end up as mind-bogglingly stupid as Assistant Deputy Secretary Kevin Jennings.

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16 comments to Scientists? We don’t need no stinkin’ scientists.

  • the best government money can buy

    Do we really get the government we deserve? What have we done to deserve this?

  • claygooding

    I wonder how much it costs us to get this kind of advice and data.
    Eventually our government is going to have to admit that you can’t fix stupid.

  • permanentilt

    “…but common sense tell us it’s hard to study effectively if you are drunk or high.”

    Well DUH! Thats why students should get high with pharmaceutical grade stimulants for studying!

  • Servetus

    Tragically, many are addicted to failure.”

    Failure? Does Kevin Jennings include people such as himself who are addicted to a failure called the drug war?

  • Jhelion

    Cannabis allowed me to focus and actually complete my homework in college…

  • darkcycle

    I too strongly advise against studying while taking a crap and while attending church services….but if you REALLY want the minister to look at you funny, try doing both.
    I also have reseach that proves the deputy drug czar is an idiot. I will share this research with the world at the appropriate time….

  • InsanityRules

    I had a 4.0 grade point my senior year in engineering at a prestigious Midwest engineering school. I never could have done it without the blow. Then again, I wasn’t that smart, and wouldn’t recommend that strategy to anyone. However, if I used the ONDCP logic, my experience clearly proves that drugs are the ultimate study aide. Doncha love specious logic?

  • BryanS

    I know in college that myself and some others (several of which were in “honors” classes together), all acknowledged and practiced the same policy.
    That whenever possible we would go to lectures, study, and take tests high – I should note moderately high – although that did kinda vary depending on the length of classes & tests.
    And I must say, This worked pretty well. Particularly for things like Art History – and in that case attending sober was hazardous to your sanity! Even more-so when the prof came in tweaking her ass off & couldn’t recall modern geography… You know, little things like the freaking Persian Gulf. (And this was in 94′) *sigh*

  • ezrydn

    This whole article is for nought. Isn’t the Dept. of Education considering doing away with Ds and Fs to protect the little ankle biters psyches? That only leaves As, Bs and Cs. More mammygov at work.

  • kaptinemo

    “Oh, what a tangled web do parents weave, when they think that their children are naive.” – Ogden Nash

    And what makes ‘common sense boy’ actually believe that modern students are paying him and the organization he works for any mind at all?

    I doubt very seriously that much of the Web traffic logged there originates from the age group the ONDCP is targeting. If any are, it’s for entertainment purposes – as in getting stoned and visiting the site, to have a good laugh at the inanities.

    What is it about some adults? Do they actually undergo some kind of mini-lobotomy at age 30 in which they forget what it was like to be a kid? (I know this 50+ year old fart didn’t.) Do they forget how a kid naturally develops BS detectors as a matter of necessity…just like they did? And just how almost religiously said BS detectors are deployed while comparing the words of some adults (especially those of ‘authority figures’) with their actions…just like they did?

    Anything an ONDCP functionary would say to today’s kids would immediately trigger all manner of warnings. And needless to say, a lot of ‘common sense boy’s target audience read here daily. They know the man’s paid to lie.

    It’s almost painful to watch the ONDCP embarrass themselves daily. Hopelessly outclassed by the very generation they seek to influence…and blissfully unaware of it. Pathetic.

  • Maria

    Gods, what flippant paternalistic bullshit.

  • divadab

    I wouldn’t mind so much except that I have to pay for Jennings’ salary, benefits, office, staff, travel, and so on, so that he can insult me with inane BS. Then he and his cronies add injury to insult by branding me a criminal worthy of jail for what? FOr daring to possess a flower grown and used by humans peacefully for ten thousand years.

    Jennings represents much of what is wrong with America. He should have to get a real job, you know, one that doesn’t involve oppressing harmless people based on self-serving lies.

  • common sense ought to be enough to understand why it is egregiously immoral to persecute people who smoke the “wrong” plants.

  • Nz

    The whole advice piece is seriously lacking one ingredient:
    The threat the DEA, police, and prohib-snitches pose towards anyone that doesn’t follow their advice, which is the real danger of getting busted for possession and losing money, credit, government grants, etc…

    They obviously don’t want to admit how much their fascist drug-policies are responsible for most of the real damage. Funny how illegal drugs almost never lead to violence and destruction until the cops get involved.

  • just one of those interesting things about Pete and the ONDCP…

    DWR Alexa traffic rank: 487,343; sites linking in: 203

    ONDCP traffick ranking: 3,804,774; sites linking in: 93

    Our couch is busier then their’s! Oh wait, they don’t even provide a couch… and they have NO conversations like we have… I mean that literally, they have NO conversations.

    I’ll bet they never even pass a virual hooter around either… ffffffffp… ‘ere… someone take this…

  • Duncan

    Hi there, I’m from the government. How can I help you?