Government Data: More Than 95% of Americans Who've Tried Crack or Meth Are NOT Regular Users
From John Stossel:
"I believed the Drug Enforcement Administration's claim that drugs like crack and meth routinely addict people on first use. But Jacob Sullum, who wrote "Saying Yes", says, "If you look at the government's own data about patterns of drug use, it clearly is not true."
The data are remarkable: 8.5 million Americans have tried crack, but there are only 359,000 regular users. The government defines "regular use" as using a drug at least once in the past 30 days. More than 12 million tried meth, but only 314,000 still take it. The story is similar for heroin. Most people who try these "instantly addictive drugs" do not get "hopelessly addicted." They give them up on their own.
[MP: According to government data, 95.8% of Americans who have tried crack are NOT regular users, and 97.4% of those who have tried meth are NOT regular users.]
As Sullum puts it: "The vast majority of people who use illegal drugs do not become heavy users, do not become addicts; it does not disrupt their lives. In fact, I would argue it enhances their lives. How do we know that? Because they use it."
But on the news, we constantly see people whose lives have been destroyed by drugs. Sullum says: 'When you have prohibition, the most visible users are the ones who are most anti-social, most screwed up. They're the ones who come to the attention of the police. ... People who present themselves as experts on drug use, because they come into contact with all these addicts, have a very skewed perspective because they are seeing a biased sample. The people who are well adjusted, responsible users are invisible.'"