Is Heroin Use 'Soaring'?

Following
yesterday’s
death
of the actor Philip Seymour Hoffman from an apparent
heroin overdose, MSNBC perceives
a “rapidly growing crisis of heroin and other opiate abuse” in the
United States. Under the headline “Philip Seymour Hoffman and
America’s Heroin Problem,” Max Lockie reports that “first-time
heroin use has increased in the U.S. by nearly 60% over
the past decade.”

That sounds like a big increase, but overall heroin use rates
remain very low. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and
Health, 0.3 percent of Americans 12 and older used heroin in

2012
, compared to 0.2 percent in
2002
. During the same period past-month use remained steady at
0.1 percent. According to the Monitoring
the Future Study
, past-year heroin use among high school
seniors actually fell from 1 percent in 2002 to 0.6 percent in
2012.

MSNBC exaggerates the increase in heroin use by focusing on raw
numbers instead of rates. A chart accompanying the article shows
the number of past-month users rising from 166,000 in 2002 to
335,000 in 2012, which creates an alarming upward curve instead of
the flat line you’d get by comparing rates. The effect is less
dramatic for past-year use, but it still makes the curve
steeper.

A CNN story also cites raw numbers instead of rates
and claims,
in the label on a video, that “heroin use [is] soaring in [the]
U.S.” By contrast, the accompanying article refers to “an uptick”
and concedes that “heroin remains comparatively rare.” Measured by
past-year use, marijuana is 40 times as popular.

[Thanks to Stanton Peele for the MSNBC link.]

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Is Heroin Use ‘Soaring’?

Following
yesterday’s
death
of the actor Philip Seymour Hoffman from an apparent
heroin overdose, MSNBC perceives
a “rapidly growing crisis of heroin and other opiate abuse” in the
United States. Under the headline “Philip Seymour Hoffman and
America’s Heroin Problem,” Max Lockie reports that “first-time
heroin use has increased in the U.S. by nearly 60% over
the past decade.”

That sounds like a big increase, but overall heroin use rates
remain very low. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and
Health, 0.3 percent of Americans 12 and older used heroin in

2012
, compared to 0.2 percent in
2002
. During the same period past-month use remained steady at
0.1 percent. According to the Monitoring
the Future Study
, past-year heroin use among high school
seniors actually fell from 1 percent in 2002 to 0.6 percent in
2012.

MSNBC exaggerates the increase in heroin use by focusing on raw
numbers instead of rates. A chart accompanying the article shows
the number of past-month users rising from 166,000 in 2002 to
335,000 in 2012, which creates an alarming upward curve instead of
the flat line you’d get by comparing rates. The effect is less
dramatic for past-year use, but it still makes the curve
steeper.

A CNN story also cites raw numbers instead of rates
and claims,
in the label on a video, that “heroin use [is] soaring in [the]
U.S.” By contrast, the accompanying article refers to “an uptick”
and concedes that “heroin remains comparatively rare.” Measured by
past-year use, marijuana is 40 times as popular.

[Thanks to Stanton Peele for the MSNBC link.]

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Tonight on The Independents: Anthony Weiner, the Federal Reserve, Super Bowl Commercials, the Debt Ceiling, Joe Namath’s Fur, TSA Confessionals, Heroin Overdoses, North Korea Sneak-Peak, Plus Aftershow!

Weiner! I barely even know her! ||| New York Daily NewsIt’s Monday night, which means
The
Independents
is backatcha live at 9 pm ET, 6 pm PT on Fox
Business Network (with a midnight-hour repeat), injecting some hot
buttered libertarian weirdness into the cable-news slipstream.

Tonight’s show begins where
Friday’s
Super Bowl
episode
left
off
—with Super Bowl commercials, particularly the two that have
generated the most (and most pointless) political controversy:

Bob Dylan’s Chrysler stunt
, and Coca-Cola’s
multilingual rendition
of “America the
Beautiful
.” Commenting on these, as well as on
Philip Seymour Hoffman’s heroin overdose
and the recent

confessions-of-a-TSA-snooper
essay in Politico, will
be Wall Street lawyer-turned comedian Paul Mecurio, and criminal
defense attorney-slash-TV commentator Remi Spencer.

Then joining the show for a couple of segments will be former
congressman, recent New York mayoral loser and two-time sexting
scandal protagonist
Anthony Weiner
, who is slated to discuss (among other things)
Washington’s latest
debt ceiling fight
, President Barack Obama’s
combative interview
with Fox host Bill O’Reilly, and the

rather remarkable confession
that Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.)
made last week during his confirmation hearing to be America’s next
ambassador to China.

Malice! I barely even know her! |||Michael Malice, author of a
new unauthorized biography
of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il
titled
Dear Reader
(as well as of a great 2013 Reason
feature “My
Week in North Korea
“), will be on to talk about the horrors of
the Hermit Kingdom. And the “Keeping it Kmele” segment tonight will
use Janet Yellen’s
first day on the job
as Fed chief to take a closer look at the
Federal Reserve. Other topics that may come up on the show include
Joe
Namath
‘s
sartorial awesomeness
, the post-game show’s
9/11 truther
,
Bill de Blasio’s groundhog
(not a euphemism), and
beer drones
.

There will be a live-stream after-show available on the website,
and as always, send your tweets out to @IndependentsFBN; some
may be used on air.

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Inaugural Interview with “The News Doctors” – Bitcoin, Freedom and Decentralization

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to sit down with Eric Dubin, editor of The News Doctors, an alternative news site, and host of Liberty Rising Radio. This was a lengthy interview and we cover a lot of very important bases. Eric asked many key questions on the minds of Bitcoin skeptics, so I think this particular interview will be especially useful for those out there who still haven’t come around to supporting it. One thing that I really want to hammer home to goldbugs is that we should not be cheering or encouraging a Chinese backed monetary system. Rather, we should aim to separate the state from money.

Enjoy.

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Inaugural Interview with “The News Doctors” – Bitcoin, Freedom and Decentralization originally appeared on A Lightning War for Liberty on February 3, 2014.

continue reading

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ABC Plants Guns Among Toys and Candy, Shocked That Kids Touch Them

What happens when you plant two
real, unloaded guns among toys and a backpack in grade school
classroom and then tell kids that, while unsupervised, they should
indulge in some nearby candy? ABC reporters did just this, and
breathlessly revealed their discovery: the kids will touch the
guns! …Before notifying an adult. “Can you really hide guns from
children?”
asks
the network.

This less-than-scientific experiment was part of a 20/20
unsettling
special
” called Young Guns, which aired
last Friday. Its aim was investigate the supposedly deadly world of
households in which both children and firearms reside. ABC also
posted instructions on how to confront gun-toting friends without
making
it awkward
and provides a handy
quiz
on the differences between fake and real weapons.

“The new numbers are arresting,”
assures
the ABC’s David Muir, “nearly one child or teen every
hour [is] injured by a firearm in this country.” He speaks to a
doctor who “at one point was seeing gunshots and children twice a
week.” Diane Sawyer
reports
that a “groundbreaking” study implies that, “every
other day, a child is shot to death.”

But, the
study
doesn’t match the ABC’s far-fetched image of young kids
finding guns among their playthings in school. Children, in this
case, includes individuals aged 18 and 19, i.e. people who are
legally adults and able to buy rifles.

The presentation is not reflective of America’s gun community,
which owns a total of 310 million firearms (by far the highest
concentration per capita of any nation in the world). Major
gun rights
advocacy groups, as well as
firearms instructors, and
others
in the community
explicitly
teach and advocate
for the safe use and storage of guns. Gun forums are rife with
advice
on educating kids about gun safety and keeping weapons accessible
for self-defense but out of children’s reach.

One need not rely on anecdotal evidence, though.

Despite the massive number of guns in the US and ABC’s
hysterics,
data
collected by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in 2010
states that among children aged 1-14 there were 396 firearm deaths.
Among the 15-19 demographic, 2,331 deaths were recorded, including
legal intervention. Although this may seem dramatically higher than
the younger group, it is hardly more than one percent of the total
15-19 year old population. While each deaths is a tragedy, putting
the numbers into context reveal a far less dramatic side of the
story.

And, while ABC focuses on the accidents caused by guns, the
network overlooks how many lives guns save. Gun Owners of America
(GOA) states:

Guns [are] used 2.5 million times a year in self-defense.
Law-abiding citizens use guns to defend themselves against
criminals as many as 2.5 million times every year — or about 6,850
times a day. This means that each year, firearms are used more than
80 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to
take lives.

Unlike ABC’s extrapolations from an in-house trial, GOA’s
information comes from peer-reviewed academic
research
.

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You Can Now Book a Hotel Room with Bitcoin at Over 200,000 Properties

Cheapair.com has been leading the way as far as providing consumers with the ability to book travel services with Bitcoin. I first highlighted the company back in November of last year when they announced airfare purchases for BTC.

Well it turns out they had such success with that rollout that they are going to offer hotel booking with Bitcoin at over 200,000 hotels in their worldwide network. As I have said before, if done properly, there is only upside to retailers accepting BTC. The adoption continues…

From USA Today:

It may soon become easier for travelers to book entire vacations using Bitcoin, the digital currency.

Online travel agency CheapAir.com has started accepting Bitcoins to make reservations at the more than 200,000 hotels in its worldwide network.

In November, the website began taking Bitcoins for flight purchases, and CEO Jeff Klee said the website gained new customers after that.

“We’ve been really pleasantly surprised by the response,” he says. “We’re making a lot more Bitcoin sales than we expected to make.”

Boom!

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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You Can Now Book a Hotel Room with Bitcoin at Over 200,000 Properties originally appeared on A Lightning War for Liberty on February 3, 2014.

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NYT on Bitcoin: Only “Criminals” Want Anonymous Cryptocurrency

Today at The New York Times online, under the headline
More
Bitcoin Regulation Is Inevitable
,” this proclamation:

No one supports creating an anonymous bazaar for dealing in
drugs and other illegal goods and services—except, perhaps, the
criminals themselves.

While the rest of the piece is more or less boilerplate Bitcoin
coverage, this is an odd interjection of the old “why do you need
privacy if you have nothing to hide” canard. 

Bitcoin is technically psudenomyous, not anonymous, since there
is a record of every transaction. But the idea that no one would
want an additional layer privacy in their online purchases “except,
perhaps, the criminals themselves,” is odd.  

I talked about good reasons why ordinary people might want to
keep information about what you’re buying or selling private on
Stossel awhile back:

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NYT on Bitcoin: Only "Criminals" Want Anonymous Cryptocurrency

Today at The New York Times online, under the headline
More
Bitcoin Regulation Is Inevitable
,” this proclamation:

No one supports creating an anonymous bazaar for dealing in
drugs and other illegal goods and services—except, perhaps, the
criminals themselves.

While the rest of the piece is more or less boilerplate Bitcoin
coverage, this is an odd interjection of the old “why do you need
privacy if you have nothing to hide” canard. 

Bitcoin is technically psudenomyous, not anonymous, since there
is a record of every transaction. But the idea that no one would
want an additional layer privacy in their online purchases “except,
perhaps, the criminals themselves,” is odd.  

I talked about good reasons why ordinary people might want to
keep information about what you’re buying or selling private on
Stossel awhile back:

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Arizona Ex-Police Officer on Medical Disability Runs Triathlons

She's a winner! The taxpayers -- not so much.From the “If you did this, not
only would you be facing jail time but your state’s attorney
general would send out a press release about it” files, a Mesa,
Ariz., police officer who is receiving monthly worker’s
compensation checks and successfully arranged for a medical
retirement is racing in triathlons.

CBS 5 in Arizona
tracked down
the maddening and maddeningly common governmental
pension bureaucratic process that allows public employees to
enhance their own retirements by claiming injuries and medical
problems that don’t pass the smell test:

One of the elite athletes who crossed the finish line in the
grueling Ironman Arizona last November is 49-year-old Audrey
Glemba.

She’s a medically-retired police officer who collects a worker’s
compensation check every month for an injury she said prevented her
from doing her job.

A review of Glemba’s records reveal she suffered a back and knee
injury in 1995 during a training exercise with the Mesa Police
Department.

So, according to CBS 5, she worked and raced in dozens of
events, including several triathlons, for several years subsequent
to this injury. Then in 2007 she was investigated by the police
over some inappropriate behavior:

The 2007 internal affairs investigation revealed Glemba and
members of the squad she supervised were taking photos of
themselves, the homeless and disabled, which they ridiculed with
disparaging and offensive remarks.

“They were posting all of that various photographs on walls in
different montages, and they’d make captions about who they were or
what they were doing,” said [Mesa Police Detective Steve]
Berry.

The investigation ended when Glemba was fired in December of
2008.

So after she was fired, she appealed. She was briefly
reinstated, long enough for the pension board to rule that she was
medically unable to perform the tasks of her job, and then her
medical retirement was approved. And then she left again. In
addition, she’s getting $500 a month in worker’s compensation for
her injuries in addition to her medical retirement. So that’s a
pretty nice chain of events for Glemba. The television station says
that the pension board did know she was involved in these athletic
competitions prior to approving her medical retirement.

Read or watch the full piece
here
.

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Video – Sen. Ted Cruz on Obama, Drug War: “No man is above the law, especially not the president”

“Sen. Ted Cruz on Obama, Drug War: ‘No man is above the law,
especially not the president'” is the latest from Reason TV. Watch
above or click below for full text, links, and more. 

View this article.

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