Sometimes Statistics don’t Tell the Whole Story


One of my friends, on Facebook, cited statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that 480,000 die from smoking each year, more than die from drugs. Those dead from smoking only affected themselves and their relatives who moaned and mourned their passing.

In addition to those who died from drugs, let’s look at the collateral damage they caused to people who are affected by their drug use, that would be parents, friends, co-workers, their bosses (for as long as they could hold a job), etc. That number is in the hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions.

What about those who lie and cheat and steal and commit robberies and even kill to get their drugs? The person who is killed by them is not a death listed as a drug death, but their death was caused by a druggie.

What about the number of drug users who can no longer function in a normal society? They may as well be dead.

What about those who die from drug overdoses? Their young deaths are quite frequently not listed as drug deaths but suicides. It’s true that overdosing was the causal, physical reason for the death, but the initiating factor, the one that proceeded the DO, was the decision to commit suicide. In that instance overdosing at best is an associated cause of death, but no more, and any statistic deemed from this tragedy would report suicide as the cause of death.

Our son investigated more than one suicide when he was in the DA’s office, all the way up and down the socio-economic ladder from West End to Mountain Brook. Believe me, their parents, although suffering at the time, much preferred to have their deaths listed as a drug overdose, but the evidence present on the scene was indicative of a suicide, and when our son passed that information along to the Jefferson County medical examiner, the medical examiner had no choice but to list the death as a suicide, a very torturous decision for one of the best medical examiners in the country. That suicide ruling was a second dagger in the hearts of the parents.

I just wrote a story about the murders in Chicago. I don’t have the figures in front of me. but as I recall there were 430 last year, and 385 through the first day in August of this year. I read the names of all 385 murder victims from this year. I thought I should; nobody else except their relatives seemed to have cared if they died.

I can find no statistics so I will have to rely on what the Chicago police say in a general statement. They say that the vast number of murders in Chicago are gang drug related. Those murder victims are not listed as drug deaths. How many times does that repeat itself with gang drug related deaths across the U. S. A. because they are turf drug wars? I’d like to see the statistics for Los Angeles because at one time it was the capital of gangs in our country, in the world for that matter.

The statistics of 480,000 dead from smoking each year, and that is less than the drug deaths give the basic story, but as Paul Harvey used to say, “And now the rest of the story”. I truly wish all of the drug problems would go away, but the possibility of that happening is nil to none.

One of the most astonishing factors to me, and to Donald Trump, like him or not, is that when he traveled the state of New Hampshire people told him there was a major heroin problem there. Heroin problem in New Hampshire? You’ve got to be kidding? Unfortunately not.

Sometimes cold hard statistics lie, don’t they?  Or there is more to the story than just the figures you see on paper.

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