Scientific American reported in 1990: The alarming statistics, cited by testing advocates, to demonstrate the high costs of drug abuse do not always accurately reflect the research on which they are based. In fact, some of the data could be used to prove that drug use has negligible or even beneficial effects. (March, pg. 18, see appendix of the paper version of this book).
One of the examples given is the often used statistic former president George Bush utilized in 1989: Drug abuse among American workers costs businesses anywhere from $60 billion to $100 billion a year in lost productivity, absenteeism, drug-related accidents, medical claims, and theft. Yet according to a 1989 assessment by NIDA all such claims derive from a single study that grew out of a 1982 survey of 3,700 households.
The Research Triangle Institute (RTI) found that households where at least one person admitted having ever used marijuana regularly reported average incomes 28 percent lower than average reported income of otherwise similar households. RTI researchers ascribed the income difference to loss due to marijuana use.
RTI then extrapolated costs of crime, health problems, and accidents to arrive at a cost to society of drug abuse of $47 billion. The White House adjusted for inflation and population increases to provide the basis for Bushs statement.
Yet the RTI survey also included questions about current drug use. The answers revealed no significant difference between income levels of households with current users of illegal drugs, including cocaine and heroin, and other households.
Thus the same statistics prove that current use of hard drugs does not result in any loss, in contrast to a single marijuana binge in the distant past!
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