Lies, Damned Lies, and Drug War Statistics: A Critical Analysis of Claims Made by the Office of National Drug Control Policy / Edition 1

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Uncovers how the Office of National Drug Control Policy uses and misuses statistical evidence.

This book critically analyzes claims made by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the White House agency of accountability in the nation’s drug war. Specifically, the book examines six editions of the annual National Drug Control Strategy between 2000 and 2005 to determine if ONDCP accurately and honestly presents information or intentionally distorts evidence to justify continuing the war on drugs.

Matthew B. Robinson and Renee G. Scherlen uncover the many ways in which ONDCP manipulates statistics and visually presents that information to the public. Their analysis demonstrates a drug war that consistently fails to reduce drug use, drug fatalities or illnesses associated with drug use; fails to provide treatment for drug dependent users; and drives up the prices of drugs. They conclude with policy recommendations for reforming ONDCP’s use of statistics, as well as how the nation fights the war on drugs.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Lies, Damned Lies, and Drug War Statistics is surprisingly easy to read, and Robinson and Scherlen have done a huge favor not only to critics of current drug policy by compiling this damning critique of ONDCP claims, but also to anyone interested in how data is compiled, presented, and misused by bureaucrats attempting to guard their domains. It should be required reading for members of Congress.” — Drug War Chronicle Book Review

“The authors have performed a valuable service to our democracy with their meticulous analysis of the White House ONDCP public statements and reports. They have pulled the sheet off what appears to be an official policy of deception using clever and sometimes clumsy attempts at statistical manipulation. This document, at last, gives us a map of the truth.” — Mike Gray, author of Drug Crazy: How We Got into This Mess and How We Can Get Out

“Robinson and Scherlen make a valuable contribution to documenting how ONDCP fails to live up to basic standards of accountability and consistency.” — Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director, Drug Policy Alliance

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791469767
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 1/25/2007
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 286
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

At Appalachian State University, Matthew B. Robinson is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, and Renee G. Scherlen is Associate Professor of Political Science. Robinson is the author of several books, including Justice Blind? Ideals and Realities of American Criminal Justice, Second Edition.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables     ix
Preface     xiii
Acknowledgments     xvii
Part 1
Introduction     3
Ideology     8
Claims-Making and Moral Panics     9
Policy Analysis     16
About America's Drug War     19
Key Historical Events in the Drug War     19
Goals of the Drug War     36
Agencies That Fight the Drug War     38
Drug War Budgets     41
Part 2
Methodology     49
What We Did     51
How We Did it     52
Data Sources     53
Limitations of Drug Data     55
Claims of Success in Reducing Drug Use     59
General Drug Use Trends for Adults and Youth     59
Marijuana     82
Cocaine     83
Heroin     84
Ecstasy     85
Other Drugs     87
ONDCP Emphasizes Prevention (But Does Not Fund It)     91
Claims of Success in Healing America's Drug Users and Disrupting Drug Markets     93
Claims of Success in Healing America's Drug Users     93
Claims of Success in Disrupting Drug Markets     104
Costs of the Drug War     127
Economic Costs     127
Nonpunitive Drug War?     132
Blurring Costs of Drugs and Costs of the Drug War     134
Deaths     137
Emergency Room Mentions     141
Drugs and Crime     142
Part 3
A Fair Assessment of America's Drug War     153
Reducing Drug Use     156
Healing Drug Users     164
Disrupting Illicit Drug Markets     167
Reducing Drug-Related Crime and Violence     172
Reducing Health and Social Costs to the Public     175
Costs of the Drug War     176
Benefits of the Drug War     179
Conclusions and Policy Recommendations     181
Lessons from History     181
Findings     183
A Fair Assessment of America's Drug War     194
A Rational Response to ONDCP Failure     198
Policy Implications: Evaluating the Drug War and Using Statistics     200
Policy Implications: Drug War     202
Postscript     207
Appendix     221
Notes     225
Index     259
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