Monday, January 25, 2010


DAWN and ADAM. Odds are you’ve never heard of them. They’re not people. They’re acronyms for Drug Abuse Warning Network and Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring. DAWN is a national public health surveillance program which gathers data from people who are treated at emergency care facilities for drug overdoses. ADAM gathers data from law enforcement agencies, from urinalysis of suspected drug users.

A new study pretty much says DAWN and ADAM are way off the mark.

Scientists in Oregon studied untreated wastewater at nearly a hundred different municipal sewer systems across the state, and concluded illicit drug use was much higher and far more widespread than anybody ever thought.

There were a few findings which weren’t really surprising. More meth was detected in rural areas than in urban areas, and more cocaine and X were found in urban locations.

Sound familiar, ‘sconnies?

The big federally-funded studies, like the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, are essentially useless. They rely on responses to questionnaires, with huge under-reporting of drug use, and they miss many of the people who are likely to be drug users. They don’t take surveys.

Drug epidemiologists are excited about the Oregon study, because untreated wastewater doesn’t lie, and it contains the metabolites of everything we ingest, including all “legal” and “illegal” drugs. And it catches all the high-risk populations that surveys, arrests, and ER admissions don’t.

Any low-level drug salesperson can tell you illicit drug use is essentially equal between blacks and whites, but drug arrests of blacks (and other minority populations) are much higher. In fact, a study by the Justice Policy Institute (that’s the po-po, folks) shows what most determines drug arrests is not drug use or drug crime, but how much a jurisdiction spends on law enforcement.

Sort of like speeding tickets: the more traffic cops, the more speeding tickets.

So why are drug epidemiologists all wound up about this Oregon study? Bottom line: it shows that illicit drug use is far more widespread than conventional wisdom indicated. It means there’s hope that far smarter policies can be developed regarding drug use and prevention. It’s not just “poor people in the inner city”, as many suburban non-recreational-drug-users might think.

The longest, probably the most expensive, and certainly the least effective war this country has ever been engaged in - the war on drugs - may be on the verge of some new “shock and awe”.


  1. The problems' most people have with drugs dont show up until they cant afford them any more.except for cannabis and alcohol and tobbaco which are all affordable by almost any one with a job and many w/o job's .For the almost trillion dollars spant in the past 40 yrs in the WOD's we ahve gotten nothing except cheaper more potent and more readily avalible drugs of all variety's you can go to any city any where in north america or world wide even in country's that have the death penalty for drug's and have them delivered to your front door like a pizza or you can utilize any of the many drive through type curbside sales spot's that have been nation wide for years.Stopping drugs use is like tryin to empty the ocean with a 5 gallon bucket. It can not be done. But we can make it safer and far less damaging to the user's and the country. Legalize cannabis for personel use for any one over 18 cannabis accounts for 1/2 of all cartels profit's legalizing it here in america would over night remove the majority of the income they have to by protection from corrupt cops and politicians and borders gaurds allowing us to focus more of our limited money on the hard drugs coming into america.and medicalize hard drugs here so if you have a drug problem you can go to the doctor get a prescription fo rthat drug in return for your attending weekly counseling seesions and group therapy type meeting like A.A.or N.A. this has been done in several countries already including canada for people with opiate addiction and it had excellent results far better than the current methadone maintnence programs that are widley used .This will free up much need LEO'S to go after white collar criminal's and other terrible crimes like rape and murder and crimes against kid's. The way the drug laws are now written an addict who gets arrested has far more damage done to their life by the drug laws than by the drug it's self . You cant get over or treat an addiction but a felony conviction follows you for life limiting work opportuities and many other things in life most people take for granted.

  2. If we 'legalize cannabis' will it help with syntax, punctuation, and linear thought in combox responses?

  3. Ah ... Better living through chemistry. It's another reason to switch to beer.

    I don't know if the title refers to the Codswollop Report on Alternative Pharmaceuticals, but it's high time the ineffectual drug warriors stopped blowing smoke at us.