Drug (ab)use and political affiliation

I was chatting with a friend this evening and mentioned the arrest of Sarah Palin’s daughter’s boyfriend’s mom (isn’t there a quicker way to say that?) for dealing in Oxycontin. And he pipes up and says, “Oh, that’s a Republican drug.” And we have a little back and forth about this – the Rush prosecution, etc. – and his claim is that Oxycontin and some other prescription drugs that get abused are abused primarily by poorly educated red-state people, far more than blue staters.

His theory is that prescription abuse drugs are the hypocrites’ choice. They can claim they are using legal drugs for medical purposes, and still look down on “street” drugs – certainly true in Rush’s case. He also claimed that if you overlaid a map showing states voting McCain, and another showing particularly high incidences of Oxycontin abuse, there would be a very high correlation.

Of course, we looked and couldn’t find such a map. But it led us to further discuss whether there was an identifiable drug of choice for Democrats. Weed? Something aquired from outside the legal drug industry? Do Dems or independents prefer “outlaw” drugs?

By the end of it we were giggling like schoolgirls about the basic silliness of the concept, but I have to admit it has a certain degree of truthiness.

I dunno, whaddya think?

I think it is more of an urban/rural divide. Drug users in more remote areas don’t have the same international connections that make drugs so widely available in cities. Meth is also a bit of a redneck drug, and it is plenty illegal. It just also happens to be pretty easy to make.

What he said. Although I understand the international drug cartels have actually made a lot of inroads into the meth market, dope and coke come from overseas, so you need moderately significant infrastructure to get it to Americans for sale, which means you do best when you have the economy of scale offered by a high-density urban area. Ox and meth don’t require that much organization, so they are the drugs of choice in rural areas. And for rich people, ox works because you can network to find a doctor who is willing to write a prescription. Democrats and rich Republicans live in cities, poor Republicans live in the country. Q.E.D.

–Cliffy