I am constantly frustrated with the media's inability to reality check the numbers they publish. In many cases, just a few seconds thought would tell them that the numbers make no sense.
Today's example actually comes from a "meth-is-death" web site which is run by the Tennessee state attorneys-general association and is linked prominently from the Federal Government's anti-drug web site (Hat tip to Reason). Here are their numbers, copied right from the site:
- 1 in 7 high school students will try meth.
- 99 percent of first-time meth users are hooked after just the first try.
- Only 5 percent of meth addicts are able to kick it and stay away.
- From the first hit to the last breath, the life expectancy of a habitual
meth user is only 5 years.
So 14.3% (1 in 7) try meth, 99% of those who try are hooked, and 95% of those hooked stay hooked, and all of those hooked die in five years. So .143 x .99 x .95 or 13.45% of all kids are dying on average by the age of 23. Wow. There must be a really huge conspiracy out there to cover up all these deaths. Given that there are about 17,000,000 high school age kids, that means that in the next 5 years or so nearly 2.3 million of them are going to die. And adults who run anti-drug programs wonder why kids don't take their warnings seriously.