March 17, 2016

Facts stretched on youth marijuana usage rates increasing

Dear Editor,

Debbie Haskins’ recent op-ed titled “Youth and marijuana: Colorado’s experience and efforts” published in the March 9-15 edition of The Mountain Times, claims that a government survey (the National Survey of Drug Use and Health) showed dramatic increases in marijuana use by teens (12-17) and young adults (18-25) in the year immediately following Colorado’s legalization of the drug.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the reported year-over-year changes, for both the 12-17 year old and 18-25 year old cohorts, were well within the survey’s margin of error—meaning, that they are statistically insignificant even at the generous 10 percent confidence levels.

In other words, the most comprehensive survey on teen drug use actually does not show any increase at all. But don’t take my word for it—take the word of Arthur Hughes, the government statistician and co-author of the survey, who stated, “Colorado’s rates are statistically the same between 2013 and 2014” in an article published in The Cannabist, an online news blog, titled “Teen pot use: Colorado leads U.S., but state’s youth use remains unchanged.”

This is not the first time that SAM-VT, the pro-prohibition advocacy group run by Ms. Haskins, has stretched the truth to further her political cause. Your readers deserve better than disinformation and propaganda.

With best regards,

Dave Silberman, Esq., Middlebury

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