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Drug Czar Makes Absurd Claim That the Drug War Reduces Teen Tobacco Use

Submitted by smorgan on
If you haven't figured out yet that the Drug Czar will say anything, you should start reading some of the stuff he says. This week he attempted to take credit for reductions in alcohol and tobacco use among teens, claiming that the war on illegal drugs somehow causes kids not to smoke cigarettes. Before you know it, he'll be declaring that the drug war extinguishes forest fires, increases child literacy, and inspires people to spay or neuter their household pets.

An ONDCP announcement this week heralding reductions in youth drug use contained this whopping claim:
When we push back against illegal drug use, youth abuse of other substances decrease as well:
*Use of alcohol, including binge drinking, and cigarette smoking
have decreased by 15 and 33 percent, respectively
This is just warped on so many levels, I must resort once again to a bullet point list to explain how ridiculous it is:
1. These are legal, widely available drugs. The Drug Czar's claim that supply-reduction efforts have been effective against illicit substances cannot be applied to alcohol and tobacco. There may be age restrictions, but there ain't no crop substitution or aerial fumigation going on in North Carolina.
2. The Drug Czar's office doesn't work on tobacco and alcohol prevention. They've made no ads about these drugs or implemented any laws or policies in regards to them.

3. There's no war on tobacco or alcohol. If reductions in the use of these drugs are achievable without harsh laws, that merely illustrates the futility of punitive drug war policies.

4. Coinciding reductions in both licit and illicit drug use demonstrate a broader social trend, suggesting that specific drug war programs are not a catalyst in determining youth behavior.
Really, nothing could better illustrate the absurdity of the Drug Czar's self-aggrandizing pronouncements than these simultaneous reductions in tobacco and alcohol use. Without any arrests, mandatory minimums, no-knock raids, and stark racial disparities, we've made more progress against alcohol and tobacco than against these pernicious illegal substances that supposedly can only be combated through a blind and violent civil war.

As is often the case, the Drug Czar has handed us the truth in a nifty little box. He just mislabeled its contents.

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