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The bombings that took place in Boston were a heinous crime carried out by the Tsarnaev Brothers that killed and maimed American citizens.  It seems the older brother had become radicalized in his hatred of US foreign policy and his younger brother, called Jahar, seemed to be along for the ride.  How anyone could wreak such havoc and destruction is beyond the ability of most Americans to comprehend.

Unless you’re Robert L. DuPont, one of the principles in the firm Bensinger, DuPont & Associates, which is a major purveyor of drug testing management in America.  Then the reason for the terror is clear: marijuana.  Writing for U-T San Diego, DuPont explains how marijuana turned a bright young student into a terrorist.

One of the most striking and consistent observations about Dzhokhar, or Jahar as he was commonly known to his friends, was that he was a normal college kid. Evidence of his normality was his heavy marijuana use as a party boy.

Less recognized among his friends was the academic trajectory of Jahar in college, including receiving failing grades over three consecutive semesters.

While Jahar’s marijuana use did not directly make him a terrorist, it closed the door to his dreams of being an engineer or physician and it opened the door to his suicidal violence.

DuPont laments the “endemic” use of marijuana in America’s colleges and the inflated rates of drop-out in America’s high schools (actual tables follow at the end of this post).  I thought it might be fun to look those figures up and compare:

Year High School Dropout Rate (Overall) High School Dropout Rate (Black) 12-17 Monthly Marijuana Use College Graduation Rates 18-25 Monthly Marijuana Use
1979 no data no data 16.8% no data 35.3%
1985 no data no data 11.9% no data 21.9%
1991 12.1% (1990) 13.2% (1990) 4.3% no data 13.0%
1997 11.8% (1998) 13.8% (1998) 9.4% 33.7% (1996) 12.8%
2003 9.9% 10.9% 8.0% 36.7% 17.2%
2009 8.1% 9.3% 7.2% no data 18.6%

So it would seem that we had the most teens dropping out of school in 1991, the same year we had the least proportion of teens smoking pot regularly.  Now that pot smoking is at less than half what it was in 1979, we have the fewest kids dropping out of school.  And while the Dept. of Education didn’t have much for me on undergraduate degree completion, it does look like pot smoking among college kids increased from 12.8% to 17.2%, and the graduation rate increased by three points.

Naturally, DuPont has the solution to preventing the next marijuana-dropout-terrorist…

What if Jahar had been required to take drug tests to obtain and maintain a driver’s license? Might he have changed his behavior if faced with real and immediate certain consequences for his drug use? What about the tens of thousands of kids nationwide who are caught in similar drug-induced downward spirals? New technologies make minimally intrusive drug testing part of a practical approach to preventing and identifying drug problems early. Can our society afford to ignore the measures that are available to encourage young people to find positive drug-free directions for their lives?

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2 Comments for this entry

  • david watt says:

    DuPont controls alot of drug research facility shame if the most common thing they find is legal

  • It’s amazing how much falsified data is out there, especially on marijuana. Many try to say that marijuana leads to increased crime rates, high school drop outs, terrorism, and more. Video games might do the same, but we don’t throw people in jail for World of Warcraft addictions do we? Nevertheless, most of this data is flat out wrong and doesn’t represent cannabis fairly. Good job on actually finding correct data and putting and end to these statements.

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