A very good friend of this blog and occasional guest poster Frank has noted my absence. I have been busy designing and writing material for my ECN Magazine column. But Eric sent me a link I couldn’t pass up (Eric KNOWS my hobby horses). And the link is Marijuana is drug most often linked to crime, study finds.

Eighty percent of the adult males arrested for crimes in Sacramento, Calif., last year tested positive for at least one illegal drug. Marijuana was the most commonly detected drug, found in 54 percent of those arrested.

The study found similar results in four other cities: New York, Denver, Atlanta and Chicago. Among the cities, it included examinations of 1,736 urine samples and 1,938 interviews with men who were arrested.

Researchers found that marijuana was the most popular drug used by men who’d been arrested in all the cities, ranging from a low of 37 percent in Atlanta to a high of 58 percent in Chicago. Chicago also had the highest overall positive test results, with 86 percent of the men found to have at least one drug in their bloodstreams.

Cocaine ranked as the second most commonly found drug in all the cities, with the exception of Sacramento, where methamphetamine was No. 2, detected among 40 percent of those arrested.

So it may not be the drug most commonly associated with crime. Only the illegal drug most commonly associated with crime. And no mention of the types of crime. Murder, robbery, theft, assault, or prohibition violations.

So I decided to look up alcohol and its relationship to crime. What surprised me was that the first page of my search results had mainly UK links. Don’t Americans take much interest in the subject? I did find an American link. So what did I find?

…in 2004, the NIAAA estimated that 17.6 million people in the U.S. were dependent on or abused alcohol.

and

Nearly 13,000 people are killed each year on U.S. roadways in alcohol-related accidents

Hundreds of thousands more are injured

Alcohol-related crashes cost American taxpayers over $100 billion

Nearly 1.4 million people are arrested for a DWI each year and 780,000 are convicted

But that really isn’t what I’m after. Oh. Here it is.

5.3 million adults – 36% of those under correctional supervision at the time – were drinking at the time of their conviction offense

40% of state prisoners convicted of violent crimes were under the influence of alcohol at the time of their offense the more violent the crime, the greater the likelihood that alcohol was involved

25% of state prisoners given a standard questionnaire to screen for alcoholism tested positive

Our alcohol problems are similar in quantity to our illegal drug problem. In terms of damage alcohol may be worse. And yet no mention is made of alcohol. Isn’t that odd?

We do have a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) but it doesn’t seem to generate the headlines that the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) does.

And a point about traffic accidents: Why Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Traffic Deaths.