From drug detection, undercover infiltration and electronic tracking,
to incarcerating those captured and convicted, private companies
are cashing in on the War on Some Drugs and profiting from the
police state. This new breed of "copitalist" is a powerful
force with a strong self-interest in keeping certain drugs illegal
and their users vilified.
Many of the groups that profit from the War on Some Drugs are
well-known. Federal and state law enforcement agents, for example,
depend on the continued War, as do attorneys and others in the
so-called ' criminal justice system. Correctional officers (a.k.a.
prison guards) are now a powerful political lobby, and everyone
knows that tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceutical companies have
a profit motive in keeping other drugs illegal. In this article,
I will discuss a number of lesser-known companies and industries
that are cashing in on the War on Some Drugs, point out some of
the attendant dangers of privatizing the police state, and suggest
one possible strategy that might deliver a blow to the very foundation
of the War.
TESTING & TRACKING FOR DOLLARS
Entheogen users are familiar with the drug-testing industry, an
industry intent on using your bodyall of your bodyagainst
you. While compelling a person to turn over his or her own tissue
and bodily fluids for testing may seem like a flagrant violation
of the Fifth Amendment's protection against compelled self-incrimination,
the United States Supreme Court has held otherwise, ruling that
the Fifth Amendment does not protect against self-incrimination
by way of physical evidence, even if forcibly taken. (Schmerber
v. California (1966) 384 U.S. 757, 761.) A contrary ruling
would have nipped the entire drug-testing industry in the bud.
Products designed to capture and test your urine, blood, breath,
and hair, are designed by private companies and marketed to law
enforcement agencies and employers intent on drug testing their
workforce. This is a multimillion dollar industry, completely
dependent on the continued illegality of certain drugs. And.
while it's not well-known, pharmaceutical companies are at the
apex of the industry. Syva Company, for example, designed the
very first immunoassay screen for marijuana. In 1990 (the only
year for which I have been able to obtain a figure), drug-testing
equipment and chemical reagents grossed pharmaceutical companies
over $300 million. (See, C. Skozycki. "Drug-testing Industry
Shows its Wares," The Washington Post, Oct. 17. I
The fact that drug-testing is such big business speaks
volumes about the War, and its drug-using "enemies."
Most drug testing today is done for the very purpose of identifying
who uses illegal drugs. While that is obvious, the point is
seldom made that, for the most part, there is no other way to
distinguish the typical user of illegal drugs from his or her
counterpart who uses legal drugs. While a small percentage of
companies drug test only after spotting signs that a particular
employee may be using drugs, the vast majority of employers utilize
random, suspicionless testing. In other words, were it not for
the test results, employers can't tell. This is because users
of illegal drugs behave no differently than others. If an employee's
job performance was poor, an employer could fire that person regardless
of whether he or she uses illegal drugs.
The same goes for most criminal prosecutions of illegal drug users.
Drug prosecutions are rarely based on any anti-social or dangerous
action by the person, but rather simply on his or her proclivity
to control their consciousness in unsanctioned ways. a point made
by Richard Miller in his book Drug Warriors and Their Prey:
The law identifies drug users through their blood. Also through
their excreta... All that matters is a person's blood and excreta.
All that matters is the makeup of a person's physical body. Drug
law does not care if an illicit user is a beloved schoolteacher
who improves a community or a vicious psychopath who tortures
victims to death.... The law does not care if tests used to detect
illicit drug users fail to demonstrate that users are impaired.
The law does not care if users behave in ordinary ways. A statute
creating a status crime targets ordinary people. That is its purpose.
If illicit drug users acted in ways that distinguished them from
nonusers, a status crime statute would be unnecessary. (R. Miller
Drug Warriors and Their Prey, p. 9. 1996.)
Pharmaceutical companies and their investors are not the only
ones profiting from the drug-testing boon. The prospect of large
profits has given birth to smaller companies whose business is
to create new and "better" tests capable of detecting
an ever-widening range of substances in your most private bodily
fluids. (See, 15 TELR 158, for information on a device
so sensitive that it can allegedly detect the increased sugar
content from a single sugar cube tossed into Australia's Sidney
A new device that can purportedly detect recent use of MDMA (ecstasy)
is being developed by Cozart Bioscience, an English company. Cozart's
product is a "lollipop" that captures saliva and (crudely)
analyzes it for the presence of recently ingested illegal drugs.
(J. Boyle & J. Booth, "Lollipop test on the way to catch
drivers on drugs" 9 Oct. 1997, The Scotsman, Edinburgh,
UK.) The lollipop has an absorbent swab on one end that suspects
are asked/ordered to lick, thereby capturing a small sample of
the suspect's saliva. The sample is then inserted into a small
"drugalyser," that returns a positive or negative reading
within five minutes. So far, when compared with blood tests as
a control, the device is 95 percent accurate. While Cozart touts
this as an impressive accuracy rating, the deviceeven by the
company's own figuresis horribly inaccurate, falsely
accusing one out of every twenty "suckers." While a
subsequent confirmation test is required for criminal conviction,
officers may arrest people solely because they tailed
the lollipop test.
Another new device in the world of drug detection is the Ionscan
400,TM a $55,000 handheld Dustbuster-like device, which
police can use to vacuum a suspect's body and clothing. The device,
which traps and then tests extremely small traces of illegal drugs,
is manufactured and sold by Barringer Instruments Inc. of New
Providence, NJ. The company bills it as being more accurate than
a drug-sniffing dog that never gets tired or needs food or exercise.
The State of Maryland already uses one of these devices to test
people who visit or work at Maryland's prisons, and plans to purchase
three more units. One recent newspaper article described how the
Ionscan 400TM is used:
Using the hand-held vacuum, an officer scans skin, clothing or
even cash. Particles from what was scanned are captured on a filter
about the size of the average index finger. That filter is placed
inside a scanner that determines the presence of as many as 20
The scanner identifies the narcotics after it has been given a
sample of the drugs from what is called a "calibrator stick"something
like a tube of lipstick that has particles of the drugs to be
searched for. A matter of seconds after the scanner produces resultswhich
takes just secondsit reports the presence of drugs. The computer
says "pass" or "alarm" after the scanning
is complete. ' Maryland aims 'drug buster' at prisons' visitors
workers," The Baltimore Sun, 2 Oct. 1997.)
Companies that used to be part of the "military industrial
complex" are retooling to get on board the War-on-Some-Drugs
gravy train. A company by the name of American Science and Engineering,
Inc., (ASE), for example, is making its investors rich by designing
and selling super-high-tech x-ray-using devices designed to detect
expertly hidden contraband. Last year the company's sales exceeded
$30 million, showing a sixty percent growth in revenue. (A. Boadle,
"Drug Smuggling a Boon to U.S. X-ray Manufacturer,"
Reuters, 4 Nov. 1997.)
American Science and Engineering, Inc., (which is publicly traded
on the American Stock Exchange under the symbol "ASE"),
recently received a $2.6 million order from an undisclosed agency
of the United States government for ten specially enhanced Model
101Z vans equipped with ASE's proprietary Z Backscatter
X-ray detection equipment. This equipment is able to detect organic
substances, such as drugs, concealed in complex backgrounds, and
can literally see through vehicles. The Model 101Z vans were specifically
built to satisfy "the rigorous specifications of U.S. Customs."
The order also included two Model 101XL machines for peering
into small freight, such as luggage and parcels. ASE also makes
backscatter x-ray systems designed to inspect small packages ("Model
66"). (Company Press Release, "American Science
and Engineering, Inc. Announces Receipt of $2.6 Million Order
for Z Backscatter X-Ray Equipped Vans" 14 Oct. 1997.)
In September of this year, ASE announced the receipt of a $3.8
million order for two Mobile Search x-ray inspection trucks
from the U.S. Department of DefenseCounterdrug Technology Development
Program. By late 1998, these mobile inspection systems will be
used by U.S. Customs agents for interdicting drugs hidden in vehicles
and cargo crossing the Mexican border. The contract calls for
further development work that is expected to double the capacity
of the system, and allows the government the option to purchase
up to four additional Mobile Search systems. (Company Press
Release, "American Science and Engineering, Inc. Announces
Receipt of $3.8 Million Mobile Search Order," 19 Sept. 1997.)
ASE's disclosure statement, required by all publicly traded companies,
admits the obviousthat "global political trends and events
which affect public perception of the threat presented by drugs"
could dramatically effect ASE's projected gross revenues. Note
that it is not the actual danger posed by illegal drugs
but the "public perception of the threat"that
is central to the company's multi-million dollar business.
Police state profiteers are also making money by developing and
selling devices used to electronically track people suspected
of using, selling, or manufacturing illegal drugs. A company by
the name of Teletrac Incorporated sells a radio-transmitting tracking
device to police, which when secretly attached to a vehicle shows
the vehicle's location at any time. The devices are about the
size of a video-cassette and are attached magnetically. Once placed
on a car, the device allows law enforcement to "see"
where the vehicle is by showing it as a blip on a computer generated
street map. Already, Southern California police agencies have
used Teletrac's transmitters to obtain more than 100,000 reports
on vehicle locations since 1992.
Not only does Teletrac profit from the continued vilification
of illegal drug users, but it has a profit motive to weaken constitutional
protections against warrantless searches. Lawyers for the company
argue that no search warrant is required to install the electronic
devices, so long as police attach them only to the outside
of a suspect's vehicle. An Oregon court rejected a similar
argument, saying that the secret attachment of a tracking device
transforms a person's automobile "from his private personal
effect to a tool of the state." (State of Oregon v. Campbell
(1986) 742 P.2d 683) The Oregon court held that under the
Oregon Constitutional protection against unlawful search and seizures,
the placing of an electronic tracking device on a vehicle constitutes
a seizure. and hence cannot be done without a warrant. But, many
states, including California, have not addressed the issue.
A bill (Senate Bill 443) that would have required police in California
to obtain a search warrant before secretly mounting an electronic
tracking device on a person's vehicle was vetoed by Governor Wilson
on October 5 of this year. The bill explained how police across
the country are secretly following cars on computer screens. (S.
Pfeifer & M. Katches, "Wilson rejects a measure requiring
a warrant to affix such devices to suspects' cars," Orange
County Register, 8 Oct. 1997.)
PRIVATE UNDERCOVER NARCS
Perhaps one of the most frightening new copitalist industries
is that of private undercover "narcs." One of the leading
companies in this field is Wackenhut Corporation, a corporate
security firm founded in 1954 by George Wackenhut, a former FBI
official. It's now a publicly traded company on the
New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "WAK." A check
on November 3, 1997, showed that there were 14.7 million shares
in the company outstanding, trading at just over $21 per share.
In 1996, it earned almost one billion dollars.
Wackenhut. has long contracted with America's corporations to
provide ' silent witness" or ' concerned employee action"
telephone lines. Signs inviting employees 4 to anonymously report
drug use by fellow employees are posted in the work place. Wackenhut
records the incoming tips and sends the information to the contracting
In the last year and a half, however. Wackenhut, and other corporate
security firms such as ASET and Pinkerton's, have begun providing
undercover narc-employees to businesses concerned about employee
drug use. As promoted by Wackenhut, "[s]killed investigators
blended in among other workers become management's eyes and ears
in the work force." These private undercover narcs enter
the workforce as if they were newly-hired employees, and often
stay undercover for over a year. (ASE I claims that none of their
investigations last less than six months.)
In most cases, before sending in the private narc the company
informs the local prosecuting office to ensure that if evidence
is obtained, the prosecutor will pursue the case. The ASET agent
serves as a witness at any subsequent criminal trial.
ASET claims to have 75-100 investigations continuing nationwide
at any given time. and proudly boasts that its investigations
have resulted in the firing of over 100,000 people and the jailing
of tens of thousands. In one undercover operation earlier this
year, General Motors contracted with ASET to secretly place ASET
agents in several auto plants. The undercover operation resulted
in more than three dozen arrests. A typical ASET undercover operation
was described in a recent newspaper article:
The bogus workerswomen as well as men, with the numbers determined
by the clientare "hired" by the client and begin
insinuating themselves into the work force, socializing with employees
both on the job and off the clock. Eventually, they ease their
way toward those workers who may be using, buying or selling drugs.
The laundry list of available substances runs the spectrum from
marijuana, methamphetamine, and cocaine, to prescription drugs
and heroin. And operators admit that interacting often means coming
into close contact with the very contraband the company is trying
Pinkerton's agents try to avoid even the simulation of use..
. by concocting lies about why they will not imbibe: Threat of
a drug test, fear of an interaction with some prescription medication
or saying they are only interested in buying for a friend.
When the situation demands. ASET agents must simulate illegal
activities realistically enough to mislead their marks, while
remaining credible if the case ever gets to court. "I wouldn't
want to give away trade secrets and tell the bad guys what to
look for, but if you're out there playing a role for eight months
you're going to have to convince people you're a user,".
.. said [an ASET spokesperson]. (M. Davis, "Your coworker
may be an undercover narc," The Tennessean, 12 Oct.
Once sufficient evidence is gathered. it is turned over to local
law enforcement agents who sweep in and make arrests. Not only
is the evidence used to reprimand or fire the employees, but it
is often also used in criminal prosecutions.
As earlier noted with respect to drug testing, the fact that employers
must utilize undercover narcs in order to catch employees who
use illegal drugs, shows that without such extreme measures, illegal
drug-using employees are unidentifiable. Plainly, the private
narc phenomenon is terribly destructive to people's basic trust
in their fellow workers. As the industry grows,. and more employees
begin to question who among them is a private narc, the overall
level of trust declines and the social fabric begins to rip and
unravel. Additionally, and most worrisome from the legal viewpoint,
consider that private narcs operate outside all constitutional
constraints. If a government agent, such as an undercover
police officer or DEA agent, violates the constitution the evidence
is excluded from court. But, in stark and frightening contrast,
a privately employed undercover narc could break into your
home to gather evidence against you, and such evidence will be
perfectly admissible in court because the constitution only protects
people from the government, not from other privately-acting people.
In other words, so long as a private narc is not acting under
the direct control of police officers or other governmental body,
such a narc is entirely unconstrained by the Constitution. As
a result, they can do things that government narcs could never
do without running the risk that their entire case would be tossed
out of court because the evidence was unconstitutionally gathered.
An independently-acting private narc, can search your office without
a warrant, or rummage through your briefcase or purse, or even
sneak into your house to gather evidence against you. The fact
that the private narc broke the law to gather the evidence will
not bar a prosecutor from using the evidence against you in court.
Similarly, because private narcs operate outside the constraints
of the constitution, the defense of entrapment is unavailable.
As a result, these agents provocateur can go to extreme lengths
to entice a target to commit a crime, perhaps even manufacturing
crimes that might otherwise never have occurred.
Once you've been tracked by an electronic beeper, drug tested
or searched with a high-tech product. and eventually busted by
an undercover private narc, the private repression industry is
prepared to profit from your incarceration. Another surreal but
sizzling growth area fueled by the War on Some Drugs is private
prisons. Copitalists would do well to invest their money there.
With about 1.7 million people currently incarcerated in the United
States, and about twenty-five percent of those (425,000) in for
drug offenses, space in America's government-run prisons is in
very short supply.
As more and more people are incarcerated for drug crimes each
year, the ever-increasing demand for prison space is making private
prisons a very lucrative business. Already there are 120 private
prisons in the United States. owned and operated by about twenty
different companies. This year the industry will reportedly gross
over 1 billion dollars. (P. Floyd, "Private Prisons: Corporations
Cash in on Crime," 59 Slingshot 1997.)
The private prison industry's base unit of calculation is the
"bed," a nice way of designating ½ of a cinderblock
or metal cell (two beds per cell). In just the last ten years,
the industry has grown an astounding thirty-fold. from approximately
3,000 beds. to over 85,000. In California, for example. there
are about 1,500 people confined in private prisons. These are
all minimum security prisoners, many doing time for drug offenses.
In Texas, the state with the largest private prison population,
there are over 18,000 people privately imprisoned. (See. C. Thomas,
D. Bolinger, & J. Badalamenti, Private Adult Correctional
Facility Census, (10th ed. 1997) Center for Studies in Criminology
and Law, University of Florida.)
Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), is the largest private
prison company in the U.S., owning and operating 61 prisons in
18 states, and housing approximately 23,000 people. The company
is so sure that prisons are a growth industry that it is building
a $100 million, 2,000-bed prison in a remote California town.
CCA has no contract with the State of California. Instead, it
is building the prison purely on speculation that California,
which already suffers from extreme "overpopulation"
in its prisons, will soon have no choice but to pay the company
to house its prisoners in the CCA facility. The bet is a good
one given that California s Department of Corrections predicts
it will run out of prison space by the year 2.000 and it takes
three years to build a prison.
Investors in CCA (which is publicly traded on the NYSE under the
symbol CXE) are getting filthy rich. Originally founded by the
same group of entrepreneurs who financed Kentucky Fried Chicken.
CCA entered the private prison business in 1984. contracting with
the federal government to operate alien "detention centers."
Since then, it has grown to a mega-company that in 1996 had revenues
of $292 million dollars
Last year, investors in the company's stock realized a gain of
over 40 percent. CCA's revenues will, no doubt, continue to grow
as indicated by the fact that lawyers for the company just helped
draft legislation that was passed in Tennessee to facilitate the
privatization of that state's entire prison system. With
voters nationwide reluctant to finance new prison construction
through bond measures, and yet demand for prison space propelled
by more and more drug arrests (in 1996 alone over 1.5 million
people were arrested for drug crimes, including over 642,000 for
marijuana offenses), it's inevitable that more and more states
will turn to private prisons.
The second largest private prison company in the country is Wackenhut
Corrections Corporation, an offshoot of the Wackenhut Corporation,
one of the major private narc companies discussed earlier. Like
CCA, Wackenhut Corrections Corp.. entered the private prison business
by building and operating alien detention centers in the 1980s.
Also, like CCA. Wackenhut Corrections Corp. is a publicly traded
company whose investors have done wellrealizing an amazing
82 percent increase in their investment in just the last year.
In 1996, Wackenhut Corrections Corp saw revenues of over $137
million, and ended the year with over 12,000 "customers"
in its U.S. prisons. (The company also has two medium security
prisons in Australia, and boasts of prospects for additional facilities
in the United States. South Africa, Europe, and the Pacific Rim.)
So far, few people know that private prisons even exist, let alone
have stopped to consider whether it's good public policy to hand
over punishment to the private sector. Already, the industry has
been plagued by corruption. Also, like any profit-motivated business,
operators of private prisons will look to cut costs however possible.
And, when your clientele is as politically unsympathetic (i.e.,
powerless) as prisoners, few people will pay much attention to
their complaints. In other words, the potential for human rights
violations is significant as private prisons compete against one
another to offer state and federal governments "the best
deal" for incarcerating convicts.
PROFITING PROPAGANDA PARTNERS
All the companies and industries discussed above, and those better
known (e.g., police officers, judges, lawyers, alcohol, tobacco
and pharmaceutical companies), trade and profit on the continued
currency of illegal drugs. This is a huge and growing industry
dependent upon the public perception of illegal drug users as
evil and dangerous people. Companies that sell drug-detection
and testing equipment stand to lose their very bread and butter
if illegal drugs are seen as no more dangerous than their legal
counterparts, and illegal drug users no more dangerous or morally
degenerate than people who drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or
drink espresso coffees.
Hiring private narcs, for example, is not cheap. Wackenhut and
ASET routinely bill in the six figures. yet companies believing
that users of illegal drugs lose more time to sickness, and injury,
or are more likely to steal from the company, willingly pay the
price. Plainly, the greater the perceived evils of illegal drugs
and those who use them, the greater will be the demand for the
private narc industry's services. No company is going to spend
hundreds of thousands of dollars of its own money to fight the
War if it knows that occasional users of illegal drugs are just
as productive, just as healthy, and just as trustworthy as their
counterparts who use legal drugs.
In the private prison industry alone we have a billion dollar
interest largely dependent upon the continuation of the War on
Some Drugs. If drugs were legalized, demand for prison space would
plummet by 25 percent with a corresponding decrease in the industry's
profits. In fact, private prisons stand to lose even if drugs
remain illegal, but mandatory minimum sentences are repealed or
punishment for drug offenses is otherwise liberalized. Empty "beds"
translate to lost revenue. As a result. the private prison industry
is a self-made billion dollar public relations firm with a profit
motive for manufacturing and perpetuating the false stereotype
of evil illegal drug users. The more that illegal drug users are
accurately perceived as no different than anyone else, the more
the private prison industry stands to lose.
The bottom line is that the War on Some Drugs. like any war, requires
a supporting public. Enemies need to be vilified and dehumanized,
and there's no better way to do that than through the media. And,
the copitalists know it. The portrayal of users of illegal drugs
as untrustworthy, unhealthy, and dangerous dregs is itself big
business. Media imagery has falsely, but very successfully, portrayed
the average marijuana user as a 16-year-old "son" with
a defiant attitude who's "frying" his brain. Since this
is the image that many people have come to associate with marijuana
it has much more political power than the truth.
To a large degree, the success of some medical marijuana initiatives
has been the result of successfully de-coupling the "16-year-old
stoner" image from marijuana. Study after study has proven
that marijuana can be good medicine, yet the public consideration
of such data has been eclipsed by anti-drug rhetoric and imagery.
Anyone can get seriously sick, and anyone who is seriously
ill will want the best possible medicine. Proponents of medical
marijuana have worked hard to escape the negative imagery associated
with marijuana use. and as a result have been able to generate
Television itself is an addictive drug that stands to lose if
other drugs are legalized. The Partnership for a Drug Free America,
producers of the "this is your brain on drugs" fried-egg
"public service announcement" among
others, relies heavily on donated time from media and advertising
companies. In fact. from 1987 through the spring of 1995, media
executives donated more than $2 billion in broadcast time
and print space. (S. Rhoades, "Public Service, Private Ideologies,"
EXTRA!, July-Aug., 1991.) In 1990, this amounted to almost
$1 million a day of donated time and space.
The Partnership, as you should know, gets over 50% of its funding
from pharmaceutical. tobacco, and alcohol lords, who obviously
have a vested interest in keeping their drugs the only ones sanctioned.
The Partnership's whole strategy is one of attack-advertising.
Rather than promote its financier's own products, it instead promulgates
a negative image of those who use its competitors. The Partnership
makes no bones about this, stating that its goal "is to reduce
demand for illegal drugs by using media communication to help
bring about public intolerance of illegal drugs. their use and
users." (R. Miller, supra, p. 27.)
Entheogen users are caught, then. face-to-face with an ironic
dichotomy, pitting substance against image. The very essence of
entheogens is the substance of the experience, yet control of
imagery seems to be fundamental if there is any hope for liberalizing
the drug laws. The solution to the problem is clear. but how to
solve it is not. Obviously. there is no way that users of illegal
drugs, let alone just entheogen users. can financially compete
with mass media imagery.
Perhaps one strategy would be to encourage prominent well-respected
people to publicly reveal their own use of entheogens and to carefully
plan such admissions to maximize media-exposure. The juxtaposition
of such honest testimony with the contrary. amorphous imagery
put forth by The Partnership might go a great distance toward
debunking the false stereotype of illegal drug users. An orchestrated
series of such revelations might demolish it.
1. Most information on share prices and
company revenues in this article are from Thomson Financial Services,
Inc (a Division of Thomson Financial and Professional Publishing
Group), and are absolutely not intended to entice you to invest
in these companiesjust the opposite. The point of this article
is that these companies, and their investors, are perpetuating
the War on Some Drugs.(back)
2. One writer has offered the follow description
of a billion dollars:
....Suppose that every day, seven days a week, you got a thousand
dollars In a year, you'd have roughly a third of a million and
in roughly three years, a million. Since a billion is a thousand
million, it would take you three thousand years to earn a billion
dollars at the rate of a thousand a day.. Now7 if at the time
of Christ. someone started laying aside a thousand dollars a day
to your account, now, 2000 years later, you'd still be shy about
one third the amount. (J. McDermott. The Crisis in the Working
Class & Some Arguments For a New Labor Movement, p. 107,
Another way to conceive of a billion dollars is to consider
that if a small business has revenues of $40.000 in one year.
A company with one billion dollars of annual revenue is worth
the equivalent of 25,000 such businesses.(back)
3. By 1991, 445 of every 100,000 people
in the U.S. were imprisonedthe highest rate of incarceration
in the world. (M. Mauer. ' Americans Behind Bars: One Year Later,"
The Sentencing Project (1992).) Figures compiled by the Bureau
of Justice Statistics, indicate that at the end of 1996, one of
every 118 men and one in every 1,818 women were under the jurisdiction
of state or federal correctional authorities. Nationwide, state
and federal prisons are operating at 25 percent over capacity.
(A. Beck & C. Mumola. "Prisoners in 1996" (NCJ-164619).)
4. A study by Utah Power and Light showed
that users of illegal drugs have lower health benefit costs
than non-users. (Crouch. et al.. "Critical' in Drugs
in the Workplace, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Research
Monograph Series, no. 91. [SuDocs HE20.82 16:91 ] 1989.) Another
study by Georgia Power Company found that marijuana users had
absentee rates thirty percent lower than their fellow employees.
(D. Parish, "Relation of the Pre-employment Drug Testing
Result to Employment Status: A One-year follow-up," 4 Jnl.
of General Internal Medicine 44-47, 1989.) And, another study
found that "the net productivity effect for all marijuana
users...was positive." (C. Register & D. Williams,
"Labor Market Effects of Marijuana and Cocaine Use Among
Young Men," 45 Industrial and Labor Relations Review 435,
1992,) A recent study in Australia concluded "[a]lcohol and
tobacco use carry far greater health care costs, and alcohol far
greater crime costs. than illicit drugs." (S. Mugford, "Licit
and Illicit Drug Use. Health Costs & the "Crime Connection"
in Australia," 19 Contemporary Drug Problems 351-385
5. David Lenson, in his book On Drugs
(p. 213), does a good job of deconstructing this advertisement's
... consider the silliness of an antidrug television commercial
run in the United States beginning in 1989 that shows an egg with
the voice-over "This is your brain." The egg is then
dropped into hot oil on a grill, and the voice says "this
is your brain on drugs" as the egg cooks. The outline is
"Any questions?" In fact this metaphor raises nothing
but questions, about its strange and dubious identifications of
the brain with an egg, of cooking with destruction, of drugs with
cooking oil. If the metaphor can be disentangled (it is presumably
intended to be a visual rendition of the term "fried,"
which usually means "high"), it is probably saying that
(undifferentiated) drugs cause the destruction of the mind, and
that this is the only possible outcome. This lack of differentiation
is particularly disconcerting since the ad was produced by the
Partnership for a Drug Free America, which was funded almost entirely
by tobacco and alcohol companies." (D. Lenson, On Drugs,
p. 213, 1995.) (back)