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New statistical summary of studies on illegal drugs show shocking results

DUBLIN — Releasing data that he recently shared speaking at an academic conference in Dublin. William Jeynes, a senior fellow at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton and a Harvard graduate, noted some shocking results. The study was a meta-analysis, which is a very highly regarded statistical approach. This is because a meta-analysis statistically combines all of the studies that have ever been done on a particular topic. The findings indicated that the effects of illegal drugs and prescription opioids on the academic and behavioral -outcomes of young people are substantially more negative than is generally acknowledged in the media. The study examined the effects of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, amphetamines, hallucinogens, opioids, and illegal drugs overall.

Dr. Jeynes stated, “I was surprised by the magnitude of the results. I have done meta-analyses for many years and when an academic undertakes them, one has to allow the numbers to guide him. These numbers are nothing short of alarming. It leads a person to the conclusion that there is a serious disconnect between the actual results of taking these drugs and the perception by young people that they do little harm at all. I found the strong relationship between taking these drugs and acts of violence both against others and oneself particularly disconcerting.” Dr. Jeynes shared that as one would expect, the impact of consuming harder drugs was greater than taking marijuana, but whether one examines the results of taking cocaine, opioids, heroin, amphetamines, or any other type of drug that is largely obtained illegally, the results are decidedly negative and substantial.

Dr. Jeynes added, “These results, together with the over 70,000 Americans that die each year from drug overdoses, should cause us to re-evaluate several of the contemporary views and policies regarding the illicit use of drugs and the use of prescription opioids. First, the idea that some have that drug pushers and drug users do little harm, when it comes to violence, needs to change. Police officers will tell you that 75% of child and spousal -abuse is drug or alcohol related. American society cannot continue on this increasing lenient trajectory that the nation is currently on regarding marijuana and opioid -addiction. Second, The very large effects for hard drugs should also cause great concern over the fact that the increased legalization of marijuana in various states is leading to a very predictable outcome, i.e., the drug cartels are simply shipping an increasingly large amount of hard drugs to bolster their profits. As a society, we need to better anticipate these outcomes or else the nation’s youth are more likely than before to consume harder drugs than marijuana. Third, various aspects of society, including the government, need to strongly discourage America’s young people from taking these drugs. Some will say the ‘war on drugs’ did not work, but annual statistics indicate that it did work. The ‘war on drugs’ of the 1980s and very early 90s may not have reduced the problem to a great degree. However, since this effort was lifted, the level of drug usage and overdoses has surged. What the war on drugs did was moderately reduce the use of these drugs rather than having it continue to surge.”

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Contact

William Jeynes
whjharvard@post.harvard.edu
(714) 901-4274

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