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Thursday, January 6, 2011

50 druggiest colleges: The worst kind of media nonsense

According to the article in the Daily Beast: "Campus drug use has been on the rise for decades, as nearly half of full-time college students binge drink or abuse drugs at least once a month, according to a 2007 study by the national Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse on drugs in American colleges. The percentage of students that smoke marijuana or use other illegal drugs, such as cocaine or heroin, doubled from 1993 to 2005."

That's all well and good because they cite valid statistics.

But then they go here:

"The Daily Beast combed available statistics to figure out which campuses have both environments that may be permissive of drug use as well as a student body that partakes in illegal drug use. To rank the colleges and universities, we first turned to College Prowler, the largest student review database, to see which institutions had “drug scene” grades, which illustrate how students rate the prevalence of drugs on campus. A high grade, i.e. an A+, indicates that drugs and alcohol are not noticeable on campus and there is no pressure to use drugs. College Prowler provided an initial list of nearly 400 colleges and universities across the country of all sizes and academic rigor.

"We then considered the surrounding environment, using the most recent data on illicit drug, marijuana, and cocaine use by state for 18-25 year olds, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2009 National Survey on Drug Abuse. Lastly, we referred to U.S. Department of Education data for the number of on-campus arrests for 2009 for drug-law violations for each school. An arrests-per-capita metric was calculated for each school based on the Department of Education’s student population tabulations."

From these data, they make a list of the "druggiest colleges."

So first they use the invented data from College Prowler. Then they use arrest data to make comments about criminal behavior, even though arrest data are a reflection of what the police do not the students.

Oh, and my university ranks 12th! In the entire country!

1 comment:

  1. The fact we're putting honor role students in jail for smoking pot ought to tell us what a failure our drug policies are.