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by Peter Moskos

December 4, 2010

Drugged Driving! Lock the doors! Hide the Kids! Be Afraid! Be Very Afraid!

Drug Czar Kerlikowske said, “drugged driving is a much bigger public health threat than most Americans realize and unfortunately, it may be getting worse."

[Cue evil music!]

Except, of course, it's not.

Kerlikowske is talking about this, which estimates that one-third of those who die in motor vehicle fatalities test positive for drugs.

The problem, at least in context of the war on drugs, is how they define "drugs." Alcohol, nicotine, and aspirin are excluded. That's nice. But what about Acetominophen plus codeine? Ambien? Vicodin? Yep. Yep. And Yep. Ambien may be the ninth most prescribed drug in the US.

You might also test positive for the joint you smoked last month, which covers at least six percent of all Americans. And no, they don't break down which drugs people had in their system. Nor can they know if you're actually high or impaired on whatever drug you're taking.

You can see the complete list drugs tested for starting on page 547 of this big file.

Seeing how from 1999 to 2009, the number of prescriptions purchased in the United States increased 39%--we're talking more than 3 billion prescriptions a year (not all of these are tested for)--how could you not find more drugs in people's systems?

In truth, it's amazing that only one-third of drivers tested positive for one of these drugs. It's not amazing that drug prohibitionists twist, misuse, and sometimes just make up the numbers. They can't handle the truth.

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