Putting infographic lipstick on a pig

I received this wonderfully cheery email today from Alicia Sherman:


Hope you are have a wonderful start to your summer! I wanted to show off an Infographic my agency just rolled out about Drugs in the Work Place. I was taking a look at your site and I think you might be interested in it so take a break from your morning and take a quick peek: 


If this is something that you feel could double as content for those readers of yours, I’ve included an embed code below the Infographic for an easy copy & paste onto your site.

Please let me know If you have any questions, comments or concerns regarding the Infographic and/or its data.

Thanks for not deleting me and enjoying this Infographic break!

Killer Infographics 

(image after the fold)

Well, that’s a very friendly letter and made me want to check out this killer infographic.  And boy, is it pretty.  These people can use graphic design in such a delightful way.  Makes you almost want to believe the information they’re presenting.

Except, of course, that it’s complete hogwash.

This infographic is porn for the drug-testing industry — a massive, growing, and extremely profitable industry that depends on employers being scared of not drug-testing, and on convincing legislatures to expand drug testing mandates.

Of course, many of the statistics are meaningless. One on the infographic that is also mentioned at almost every drug testing site is the fact that 70% of illegal drug users (some say 75%) are employed.


To me, that says that the vast majority of illicit drug users don’t let their illicit drug use affect their employment. It says nothing about their performance on the job.

And many of the other figures are bandied about on various websites as if they’re solid fact, but nobody really knows where they originated.

Let’s take a look at the sources for Killer Infographics’ killer statistics. First thing we might want to watch out for is financial self-interest…

Sources (listed at the bottom of the infographic):

  • USA Mobile Drug Testing “Anyone~Anytime~Anywhere”
  • Employment Screening Resources “The Background Check Authority
  • Summa Health Care’s Mobile Drug Testing Program for Corporations
  • Minneapolis Drug Testing – a division of USA Mobile Drug Testing


Then we have an article on Treatment Solutions.com that refers to other articles, and a poll at the Society for Human Resource Management conducted on behalf of the… Drug and Alcohol Testing Association.

Finally, we have a blog post at Workplace Ethics Advice by a Professor of Accounting with 29 Twitter followers!

He refers to data at NCADI which no longer exists, and is suspiciously similar (as is much of the data in the infographic) to the infamous Firestone Study data (see The Safety Myth of workplace drug testing)

Thanks, Alicia! You infographic was very entertaining, and, as an infographic, was, at least… graphic.

Maybe you should try your hand at something even more likely to get people infographcially worked up – like… bath salts!


Hey Pete, 

Happy Monday. After seeing your blog, I thought this Infographic my agency just rolled out might be of interest to you. It is about the recently talked about drug known as Bath Salts. Take a break from the Monday morning work load and check it out: 


 – If this is something that you feel could double as content for your readers, I’ve included an embed code below the infographic for an easy copy & paste onto your site.

Please let me know If you have any questions, comments or concerns regarding the infographic and/or its data.

Thanks for taking a look, 

Killer Infographics Social Media and Marketing Manager

Click on the image to view it full size:

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38 Responses to Putting infographic lipstick on a pig

  1. claygooding says:

    I expected the drug testing industry to try and convince everyone that they will be more necessary if marijuana were legal,,even though there is no statistical evidence they were ever needed in the first place,,they are the same type of buzzards that fill the rehab industry.

  2. levelnext says:

    LOL! I love your blog! Cant believe Alicia was naive enough to send you this and think you wouldn’t mock it. … And then… they even made the second infographic, with false info and all!

    Gotta love the anti-drug people when they run out of arguments. 🙂

    • Duncan20903 says:


      There’s no such thing as bad publicity as long as they spell your name right. I think it’s reasonable to speculate that the type of people that would buy this “product” would consider Pete’s mocking an endorsement. My only question is why anyone would think such a person would be reading this blog, but that’s a puzzle for another day.

      If you can’t lick ’em with logic, inflame them with infographs!

  3. Dante says:

    These info graphic folks are the new Nigerian money transfer scams. Only the dumbest of the dumb would believe them.

    Dumbest of the dumb? Hello, drug warriors!

    • Duncan20903 says:


      I got an email from the head cheese over at the United Nations. It seems that the UN has broken up the ring of email scammers from Nigeria and have recovered a buttload of money! Now they’re trying to return all that money to the rightful owners, and I can get a 15% commission for helping return it to the rightful owners!

      It really must be easy to fool some people. I mean really, really easy.

  4. kaptinemo says:

    (Chuckling) What is it with these people? Are they blind, or something?

    The economy is in the sh*tter, and it will take only one more hard, sharp shock to flush it…and these goofs think there will always be a supply of money to pay for their unnecessary ‘service’? They occupy a niche in the economy that is about as specialized as they come…and in end does nothing to increase productivity. On the contrary. In many cases, the ‘best and brightest’ are tokers, and they will seek out employers who don’t test, and bring their talent and drive and work ethics with them, to that company’s benefit. As those who began Silicon Valley found out.

    All drug testing does is act as a means of employee control…and thus ensures that the only employees you’ll have will be worker drones lacking any creativity. And any company that thinks it can continue for very long in that condition is soon disabused of the illusion with being outpaced by competition that doesn’t engage in such practices.

    And that goes triple for nations. The Nazis learned that the hard way with chasing out as many Jewish scientists as it had. Many of those Jewish scientists had been veterans of the First World War, deep-dyed patriots who were proud of their county. But their faith marked them for elimination, not admiration. Despite all the amazing technological developments in Germany that came about from the last-gasp efforts towards the end of WW2, had the Nazis not been so anti-Jewish, had those Jewish scientists been able to complete projects like their version of an fission bomb and the modified A4 rockets, we’d all be speaking German right now. They lost in no small part because of a lack of creativity. A lesson we are learning now.

    Of all times, now is the time for fresh ideas, for innovation, for new ways of looking at things…since the old corp-rat paradigm is proving to be so disastrous. To do that you need people whose minds are not shuttered by conventionality…like most of the ‘professionals’ I’ve known who secretly use cannabis after-hours. Lose the kind of edge that such people represent, and no amount of pure p*ss will save you from the poorhouse…or History’s dumpster.

    • Peter says:

      lesson: watch out who you scapegoat

      • kaptinemo says:

        Yes…and because of the Nazi/Jewish example I gave. Many of those scientists worked at the Manhattan Project, building the fission bomb they had thought to make for Germany. In fact, many of them were doing so with the intent of using it solely on the Nazi Regime…as in payback. Had Germany not folded sooner, the first mushroom clouds would have risen over what was left of German cities rather than Japanese ones. Creativity won the war as much as anything else did.

        The very computers we are using to communicate with right this moment are a product of that unbridled creativity. Creativity that came in no small part thanks to extensive use of psychotropics, as that book whose link I provided to explains. It requires a mindset unfettered by the need to control people, but instead to improve their lives. Which is why we own the ‘Net, when the authoritarian prohibs barely know how to turn their computers on.

        It’s our ocean and we swim effortlessly in it, while the prohibs are forever dog-paddling while wearing a life-jacket and trying to act like they’re expert swimming instructors so everyone MUST listen to them…while their target audience is laughing up their sleeves at them when not feeling sorry for their inadequacies. They’re the equivalent of grunting Neanderthals trying to give Homo Sapiens lectures on string theory when the Neanderthals barely know how to chip flint. They will always be stumbling behind. Pathetic.

        • ezrydn says:

          EXAMPLE: First of year, I knew I needed to learn something I knew nothing about. I’m a LONG time user. I picked something called FOREX to learn. That was 6 months ago. Today, pulling a grand a day in profit out of the market is nothing. And I get the enjoyment of teaching my friends how to do it.

          It was those “hazy days” that not only prompted me to learn what others could, but won’t, learn. The Jewish rocket scientists figured out Rockets. I, with an “open mind,” figured out how to beat the economy. And it’s NOT rocket science!

          That’s why I’ve be absent, Teacher.

        • Duncan20903 says:

          Watch out for those black swans ezrydn, they’re vicious and sometimes deadly fowl.

        • Peter says:

          all the nazis needed was a controlled press to pump out lies about their scapegoats, the Jews. Ditto for prohibitionists with stories like face-eating etc.

          By the way, neanderthals had a culture almost on a par with h. sapiens at the time and may have been the first people to consume cannabis. They left many skilfully crafted artifacts and certainly knew how to chip flint. To compare them with prohibitionists is quite unfair….

        • kaptinemo says:

          I wanted to write a short paragraph or two, but your answer provoked some rather interesting musings that turned into a long-ass screed, and I didn’t want to bore anyone, so I’ll just ask this:

          Given the consciousness-expanding potential of psychotropics (judging from the writings of such as Carl Sagan, Cary Mullins, etc.) and the basic underlying premise of psychotropics having sparked Human mental evolution in the first place, leading to society, technology, religions, etc. as posited by Terrance McKenna’s works, are we now witnessing a split in the species family tree, once again?

          Is Human evolution once more about to make another leap? And, is that leap being fueled, as McKenna said it was last time, by psychotropics? And is the (authoritarian, patriarchal, power-obsessed, psychotropic-denying) society we presently know acting in a such a way to attempt to forestall that evolution? With laws against those psychotropics?

          Hardly original, I know. These questions have been asked in various fora, celebrated and not, for decades. But we seem to be on the cusp of gigantic changes, the sort that left some societies as nothing but footnotes in history books. We have every right to ask…

  5. Peter says:

    of course no mention of the far higher cost to businesses of alchol consumption

  6. Maria says:

    *sigh* I always wondered what the other 90% of design school grads go on to do. Say, I think that calls for a stat! 84% of design school grads go on to produce ridiculous propaganda posters for sleazy H.R. offices.

    Hell, isn’t the estimated cost to the economy from stress and sickness together something along the lines of 300 to 400 billion dollars a year? (I can’t find a quick US stat but for the UK we have “ Dame Carol Black reports that ill-health is costing the UK economy £100bn a year. That’s pounds.)

    I wonder what percent of that 60% under the influence includes anti-depressants, sleep aids, pain killers, and good old alcohol. Not to mention simple old fashioned sleep deprivation. Last few times I pulled a work related all nighter I surely felt under the influence.

    Exhaustion. Leading cause of workplace accidents since Grog fell into that fire pit while grilling some fava beans.

    There’s a stat out there about lost productivity and exhaustion levels. It’s an epidemic. If I could be arsed to I’d find it but it seems that work calls. 😉 Oh man. I suppose we could tear apart this thing all day.

    The internet, leading cause of workplace waffling since 1992.

  7. someguy says:

    Is Alicia human? I think perhaps not. Beware of AI generated profits for vampires and vultures who already have more than their share. Human lives are at stake!

  8. Duncan20903 says:


    Does anyone else find it morbidly amusing that on one day we’re all worthless dregs on welfare, but the next day we’re a menace to the workplace? Consistency and continuity are not the long suit of the prohibitionist parasites.

    • Maria says:

      With these policies they can force people out of work through their services and then point to them as proof of the unemployed druggies epidemic needing treatment. Win win!

      It’s actually quite clever, vile also, but clever.

    • Peter says:

      as i said above, all you need is a compliant press to hang any story you like on your chosen scapegoat

  9. darkcycle says:

    It’s a slick piece of propaganda, not doubt. Those things are easy to believe and most people will read it and swallow those statistics whole. And as for the “seventy percent are employed” that’s laughable. First thing I thought was “okay, isn’t that good?”, but, of course it isn’t! Why should people who smoke pot have jobs? They don’t eat, or need to pay rent, and of course none of them have families or children. Why, it is ordained that they suffer as much as possible, and to that end we (the drug testing company) can help you tell who is using and who isn’t (’cause you don’t know, do you? might be your most trusted, productive employees, and you don’t want that!). When you follow that reasoning to it’s logical end, you realize it was never about “productivity” or “safety”. It is really all about punishing a pothead you would otherwise never know about. For being a pothead.
    I’ll just leave this off without an exposition on how absurdly easy and common it is to fool a drug test, using any one of a number of techniques.
    These people are profiteers. I understand it is difficult to get work as a graphic artist, but I would have declined this one. In fact, all of the professional artists that I know (and I know a few, I have a lot of friends) smoke pot. One is in recovery from harder drugs now for two decades, but still indulges in the reefer as his only recreational substance. This makes me wonder if our artist may have had to bite her tongue to get this job…

    • darkcycle says:

      …course, I’m unemployed. Because I can be, and I want to be. But then, I started working full time at fifteen (child labor laws my ass, I just got two part time jobs. I wanted the money, I had a motorcycle and hot rod habit to feed!).

    • TieHash says:

      darkcycle: I think you have the answer, testing is very punitive and targeted mainly against cannabis users. Most of the hard drugs are harder to test for in that they don’t stay in the system so a weekend user of cocaine for instance might not test positive in the middle of the week. Speaking of cocaine would probably be a big productivity booster and should be free like coffee in the workplace ( I know that will never happen ) but caffeine and cocaine are similar with caffeine being more addictive.
      Back to my original point. It is very easy to spot an unproductive worker in most cases, and if it were easier to fire without cause most of the lazy workers would probably not have jobs.
      To be honest I don’t know if any of my co-workers use any illicit drug but some of them probably do. I do know which of my coworkers spent the night before drinking.

  10. Just as in prohibition, the solution is worse than what it is attempting to correct. A good plant manager always used to take care of this end of things quite handily without drug testing. Quite a bit cheaper too.

    It should be obvious that Government efforts to stop the demand for marijuana were behind the push for workplace testing in the first place, now expanding to unemployment and welfare.

    Oh! what a tangled web we weave
    When first we practice to deceive!

  11. darkcycle says:

    Scott, you get around! This time Alternet:

  12. Cliff says:

    Workplace drug testing is slave training for those who will give up liberty and ownership of their own bodies for the God given natural right to provide for one’s self. There is no mention by the companies which engage in this practice that the people who hire with them are expendible and fungible. Ask the people who used to pee for their employment at Motorola (or many other American Companies)and then lost their jobs due to outsourcing, because their jobs were arbitraged with those who would do the job for pennies.

    Those who would stand up to this slave training and not submit to the piss testing princes and princesses are regarded similarly to the ‘Hostile Indians’ who freely roamed this land of their births and regarded the ‘white man’s way’ as slavery. Once they owned their bodies and everything from horizon to horizon until they were put on the reservation to farm marginal lands (can you say Wal Mart wages?), cast off their Native American heritage and become good Christians expected to just settle for being second class citizens. That is until the US needed Navajos and their special language in WW II which confounded the Japanese cryptographers listening to our radio traffic.

    Face it folks, Russell Means is right, we’re the Indians, each and every one of us. We are the Indians and the lands we roam are our own thoughts, dreams, perceptions and how we choose to live our lives. We have a choice, pee for your sustainance, like a slave, go to the reservation and live an empty life, or fight the good fight and stand up and say no to the slave trainers and those who would like to make us give up our cognitive liberty and the ownership of the our minds and bodies.

  13. darkcycle says:

    Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for President has QUALIFIED FOR FEDERAL MATCHING FUNDS FOR THE 2012 ELECTION. Green Party…Federal Matching funds for this election. http://tinyurl.com/6q3al7l Please take the time to survey the link below for their official social justice platform. I direct your attention to sections I thru III. And I say again…Federal Matching funds. They make no bones, the only problem with their plan is it starts as decrim, but if you read deeper, legalization is implied. I would suggest we begin putting pressure on them to amend that platform to legalization and regulation and to drop the “treatment” language, which I suspect was a bone to those too shy to take a firmer stance.

  14. Duncan20903 says:


    From the “sometimes you bite the bear” category:
    California Court Affirms Legality Of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries And Rejects Dispensary Bans

    Los Angeles, CA — The Second District Court of Appeal in California issued a landmark decision yesterday in County of Los Angeles v. Alternative Medicinal Cannabis Collective (AMCC), which affirmed the legality of medical marijuana dispensaries under state law, and rejected bans imposed by municipalities. In particular, the AMCC court held that Los Angeles County’s “complete ban” on medical marijuana is “preempted” by state law and, therefore, void. The AMCC decision reverses a preliminary junction granted to the County by the Los Angeles Superior Court in May 2011.

    On the issue of whether dispensaries are legal under state law, the AMCC court ruled that, “[T]he repeated use of the term ‘dispensary’ throughout [Health and Safety Code section 11362.768] and the reference in subdivision (e) to a ‘storefront or mobile retail outlet’ make it abundantly clear that the medical marijuana collectives authorized by section 11362.775 are permitted by state law to perform a dispensary function.” The AMCC further held that, “[Los Angeles] County’s total, per se nuisance ban against medical marijuana dispensaries directly contradicts the Legislature’s intent,” and called that contradiction “direct, patent, obvious, and palpable.”

    • darkcycle says:

      Heh, heh. Another soundtrack to Thud to:

    • Duncan20903 says:


      …and one from the “sometimes the bear bites you” category:

      Court Erred in Siding with Marijuana Growers
      By TIM HULL

      (CN) – The 9th Circuit gave the government a second shot at an Alaska couple who successfully argued that investigators could not possibly have smelled marijuana growing on his property because they had taken extra steps to conceal the odor.

      In a matter of first impression, The Federal appeals court in Seattle found that a District Judge had improperly reversed a magistrate’s denial of a motion to suppress in the case without hearing further live testimony.

      After being arrested in 2010 for cultivating about 400 marijuana plants on their property in Wasilla, Jennifer and Trace Thoms challenged the government’s search warrant. Kyle Young, an Alaska state trooper, had obtained the warrant primarily by claiming that he had smelled the weed from his car. The defendants argued that Young must have lied to get the warrant because they had worked hard to suppress any odor that might give their operation away, including “insulating and taping the garage doors, installing two filtration systems, and even ‘ma[king] a conscious effort to grow marijuana that was less odorous,'” according to the court. The couple also offered the expert testimony of Professor Richard Doty, the director of the Smell and Taste Center at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Unconvinced, a magistrate judge recommended denying the motion.

      The Thomses objected, and U.S. District Judge John Sedwick, skeptical of the investigator’s claims, reversed without holding a new hearing.

    • Cliff says:

      Just read in Westword that Colorado MMJ dispensaries are not allowed to have business expenses deducted for tax purposes, even at the state level. How long will MMJ dispensaries be able to operate without the benefit of tax deductions for business expenses? How long will the people involved in the business strike out in another direction that cuts the government out completely?

      • kaptinemo says:

        In one sense it’s almost humorous: Government at ALL levels is screaming for revenue…a lot of it being wasted in ‘anti-drug’ efforts that produce nothing of any economic value. Drug prohibition is a loss on a macroeconomic scale.

        The dispensaries on the other hand have been profit generators…and therefore taxable resources. (Granted that profit is still artificially high thanks to the price supports afforded by Federal illegality.)

        So what do a lot of these MMJ States do? They’re cutting their own fiscal throats by attacking dispensaries. For the sake of faux morality they’re in essence using rapidly dwindling resources to engage in fiscally (and ultimately, socially) suicidal actions when they should be marshaling those resources to preserve themselves.

        It’s like someone in an oxygen-starved environment, who has one last chance to open a hatch and let some air in and keep from asphyxiating, but uses his last bit of oxygen to weld it shut…out of principle.

        If, as a favorite author of mine once wrote, “A committee is life form with 6 or more legs and no brain.”, then what is a government that is like that? Certainly not one that could be trusted under any circumstances…

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  16. Peter says:

    Huffpo story on bankster drug war profiteers:

    “More than 97 percent of the total street value of cocaine produced in Colombia — that’s billions of dollars — ends up in the hands of criminal groups in the U.S. and other first-world drug consuming countries, according to a study by two economists at the University of the Andes cited by the Guardian, and that money is laundered through banks. The study’s authors allege that Western financial regulators are hesitant to go after western banks for profiting off the drug trade.”

  17. Mr Ikesheeny says:

    Preaching to the choir but these drugs assay freaks put Marie Antoinette to shame.Is there any other nation on earth with these obnoxious gimmicks? Let them eat cake, but not brownies!

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