Marijuana and Homelessness in Pueblo: Show me the Data
March 10, 2017
An editorial printed Thursday, March 9th by the Pueblo Chieftain states,
No, marijuana is not the only cause of homelessness, but there’s an inescapable statistical connection between the lure of legal pot and other reasons people are drawn to Pueblo.
The Chieftain’s Editorial Board states this as if a statistically significant relationship has been established between marijuana legalization and homelessness; but, no meaningful data are presented to substantiate such a claim. What they do present is a series of numbers tied to a 2010 start date in a feeble attempt to establish a correlation.
Pueblo County’s jailing of the homeless has nearly tripled since 2010, many of them for committing violent crimes. The increase – to 565 arrests, including 63 involving violence, in 2016, from 204, including 30 for violence, in 2010 – has grown apace since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012.
Huh? Using 2010 as a start date makes no sense. Marijuana legalization didn’t go into effect until 2014. They even acknowledge the legislation itself wasn’t passed until November 2012. So, this does nothing to establish a meaningful correlation and even if it did the axiom, “correlation does not imply causation” is an important concept to understand before throwing around the phrase “inescapable statistical connection” as if the Editorial Board was an authority on such matters.
This reminds me of the dishonest assertions made by “Citizens for a Healthy Pueblo” who claimed crime in Pueblo had increased due to marijuana legalization. I examined crime data reported by the Pueblo Police Department and the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office and found no evidence whatsoever to support such a claim. Quite the contrary as the vast majority of crime categories have seen a decrease since marijuana legalization went into effect in 2014.
The Pueblo Chieftain has been making the same ridiculous claims for years without ever providing data or anything other than seemingly biased anecdotes from leaders of local non-profit groups who serve the homeless. Time and again politically conservative community leaders and groups, including the Chieftain, have tried to blame marijuana legalization for a perceived rise in homelessness, violent crime and general lawlessness. But at no time have they provided credible evidence or legitimate data to substantiate these claims.
It seems entirely plausible to me that the rise in homelessness and the rise in violent behavior among the homeless is driven by the opioid epidemic plaguing the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites studies indicating sales of prescription opioids and overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioids and heroin) have both quadrupled in the past 15 years. Unlike the Chieftain, the CDC actually analyzes data to arrive at these conclusions.
Here’s a suggestion for the Chieftain’s Editorial Board: either provide data to substantiate your claims or stop using big words, like “statistical”, that you clearly don’t understand.
Good points. It’s this wing nut notion that somehow marijuana is the root cause of everything evil; could it be racist? I think so and it’s an opinion with no factual basis.
Along with I read a recent editorial about flooding on the fountain. The Chieftain suggested that the fountain has only recently flood because of the growth of Colorado Springs. They forgot to mention the flood of 1965 and I’m sure many more. Can we check the history of the fountain Floods. It would be interesting
Thanks, Dad. Let’s stick with one topic at a time. I don’t know anything about the recent Fountain Creek flooding.
Perfect execution of the TRUTH
I have to point out that perhaps in the heroin and opiate portion of your blog errors may have occurred. The first one was your trust in the CDC. That trust is based on what? Politicians when speaking about drugs especially the “illegal” ones have not once stated a fact as it pertains to use or abuse. How can this be with the CDC at their disposal? The government tells the CDC what it wants them to report and the business of drugs is precisely that, business.
We are hearing ‘opiod’ a lot and I am lost as to what it means as opposed to ‘opiate’. I will assume it is the synthetic stuff to which they refer and that stuff is dangerous. Fentanyl is a synthetic ‘opiod’ developed around 1960 and is also made by clandestine labs. It is 100 times more potent than morphine. It is also mixed with heroin and sold on the black market. What politicians do not know and the propaganda machine has been churning out the misinformation is that nobody has ever died from a heroin overdose. We hear all the time about ODs ever since hair began to grow on the youth of the 1960s. What is never said in the reports from coroners about overdose deaths is that heroin is dangerous when mixed with other drugs. The danger is real when heroin use is mixed with alcoholic cocktails (hello? Janis?) or heroin is cut with Fentanyl. Fentanyl analogues can be 100,000 times more potent than Fentanyl itself.
The opium poppy produces morphine from which heroin and codeine are derived are truly wonder drugs especially for pain. If your dentist or MD gave you codeine for pain in the form a white tablet with “3” on it you were fooling with a dangerous concoction! A pill such as hydrocodone/ibuprofen can be deadly but it is not the opiate but the Ibuprofen that kills. Too much ibuprofen or acetaminophen alone can cause liver failure and a quick death. It is added to keep one from enjoying the codeine.
I will let decide on your own but advise you to check out Dr. Carl Hart who is a neuroscientist and expert on drugs plus a professor at Columbia University. He is a young black man who was headed down the usual dead end path but saw the light and now he is the man who could stop all the War on Drugs nonsense and put the DEA out of business.
By the way, homelessness has many causes and the solution is simple, take away the funds taxpayers pony up for government to distribute to administrators who “help” homeless folks after paying themselves a nice salary and spend that money instead on buying those homeless folks a home. No questions asked, no drug or alcohol rules, no this and that, NO HOOPS just a house. Services such as ambulance and ERs would save thousands a month if these people were off the street and at home. How hard is that? Homelessness like the War on Drugs is a money maker so the idea will meet with stiff opposition.