Wednesday, February 4, 2009

It's all ... part of the plan

One of those alarmist stories on Yahoo today, about the billions meth use costs us in "lost lives and productivity."

Hmm, productivity. Because the people on meth would be making lots of money and helping the economy so much if they weren't on drugs? Isn't it more likely the other way around? It's not generally people with opportunities or in good situations who get on meth in the first place, except for the occasional screwed-up rich kid.

My real interest, however, is in the "costs relating to the 900 people who died from using meth in 2005." Obviously, 900 people is terrible. (As is the fact that the concern is with their dollar value). Nobody should die of anything preventable, and I'm not like, pro-meth. But check out the statistics at:

In 2005 alone, the meth year in question, 43,510 people died in auto accidents, out of which 4,892 were pedestrians. Almost 5,000 people dead for basically crossing the street. And if we're concerned about health care costs: that's not people who were injured or hospitalized but weren't actually killed.

Not only does the automotive culture put meth to shame as a killer, but there were also 32,637 American suicides in 2005. (

Our world could do a lot more to help people with all kinds of problems than it does, but doesn't want to waste any money (or, sometimes, show too much compassion that somebody might take advantage of). Well, if the deaths of 900 people are so economically damaging, then what's the cost of all this? I don't think meth is our biggest worry.

(PS: while walking to work -- and feeling a little nervous at the crosswalks, just because of the power of irony -- it occurred to me that my thoughts today are on the same subject as the Joker's speech in Dark Knight: "Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even if the plan is horrifying.")

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