August 04, 2005

A Kinder, Gentler Meth?

Jack Shafer has nothing but arched eyebrows for the latest Newsweek cover story on the meth 'crisis'. He points out that the federal government doesn't keep good numbers on the subject—a familiar argument 'round these parts—though I'd be reluctant to shrug and say "some epidemic," as he does, until we know which way the number of heavy users is trending. (Plus, just because a problem has plateaued doesn't mean it's gone away.)

He does note, however, that legal amphetamines used to be even more popular in the 1950s and 60s, winning over, among others, John F. Kennedy. So hey, if speed is what the people are demanding, maybe the federal government should divert half the money it spends on its useless little 'war on drugs' and look into designing a new, synthetic form of meth with all the benefits and none of the side-effects. Surely we can get our drug companies to do something useful. And surely this would do more for our national productivity than whatever crazy schemes Tom Friedman's dreaming up these days, right?
-- Brad Plumer 1:02 PM || ||