New York Times: take it from America’s top drug expert, youth are doing better – if we distort findings, ignore surge in opioid deaths, hide the exploding youth substance use epidemic whose health effects eclipse those of all others combined

by Clark Miller

Published May 31, 2024

Historically speaking, it’s not a bad time to be the liver of a teenager. Or the lungs.

Regular use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs among high school students has been on a long downward trend. . . .

What’s the big picture on teens and drug use?

[Volkow] – “People don’t really realize that among young people, particularly teenagers, the rate of drug use is at the lowest risk that we have seen in decades. And that’s worth saying, too, for legal alcohol and tobacco.” . . .

Is it too simplistic to see the decline in drug use as a good news story?

[Volkow] – “If you look at it in an objective way, yes, it’s very good news. Why? Because we know that the earlier you are using these drugs, the greater the risk of becoming addicted to them. It lowers the risk these drugs will interfere with your mental health, your general health, your ability to complete an education and your future job opportunities. That is absolutely good news.

But we don’t want to become complacent.

The supply of drugs is more dangerous, leading to an increase in overdose deaths. We’re not exaggerating. I mean, taking one of these drugs can kill you.”

So you see? The news is very good overall, we’ve been  quite successful in reducing use and risks associated with use of mood-altering substances for teens and youth, and the evidence supports this. That’s  according to America’s top drug expert and as fact-checked by the national paper of record, the New York Times. 

Sure, there are some concerns and unpredictable changes in the trajectory of substance use by young people, including the doubling of opioid overdose deaths for teens from 2019. Reassuringly, America’s top drug expert has a response for that anomaly in an otherwise impressive picture painted for us of young people bucking epidemic trends and their worsening mental health trends to just say “no” to drugs: the message to those youth that using drugs is “dangerous”, and “taking one of these drugs can kill you”. So don’t do that! Right? That should actually help, right?

No disrespect, but another point on which America’s top drug expert and America’s top newspaper appear ungrounded, disconnected from reality and widely available evidence, that is, are engaging in reckless and lethal distortions – or, as a crude and uncivil person might say, lying to hide the abject failures of their institutions to understand and provide effective responses to worsening substance use epidemics – is the suggestion that the picture for youth regarding nicotine use, dependence, and potential for health costs has improved, with lowered risk of harm. 

Vaping teen

What does our top expert have to say?

Full post available now to subscribers at Illness and Cure

Why A Critical Discourse?

Because an uncontrolled epidemic of desperate and deadly use of pain-numbing opioid drugs is just the most visible of America’s lethal crises of drug misuse, suicide, depression, of obesity and sickness, of social illness. Because the matrix of health experts and institutions constructed and identified by mass media as trusted authorities – publicly funded and entrusted to protect public health – instead collude to fabricate false assurances like those that created an opioid crisis, while promising medical cures that never come and can never come, while epidemics worsen. Because the “journalists” responsible for protecting public well-being have failed to fight for truth, traded that duty away for their careers, their abdication and cowardice rewarded daily in corporate news offices, attempts to expose that failure and their fabrications punished.

Open, critical examination, exposure, and deconstruction of their lethal matrix of fabrications is a matter of survival, is cure for mass illness and crisis, demands of us a critical discourse.

Crisis is a necessary condition for a questioning of doxa, but is not in itself a sufficient condition for the production of a critical discourse.

Latest Stories

Sign Up For A Critical Discourse Newsletter

You'll receive email alerts of new or upcoming posts.

A Critical Discourse

Fog Image