How to Lie with Statistics

Today, Sunday, the prestigious daily newspaper paper O Globo (Rio de Janeiro) publishes a text with the title: The absolute Majority prefers Marihuana. The text presents the results of a study by the name: Drug Consumption in Rio’s Nightlife” (which had already been published by the O Globo magazine on Nov 2, 2008, and which was done by Retrato Consultoria and Marketing. The numbers presented are staggering. Anyone who knows a little bit of Statistics sees that this data and this analysis are very biased and do not represent in any way the general situation of a city. For example: they interviewed 857 people who were partying in nightclubs and/or attending shows, gas stations, restaurants and other places where there are concentrations of people from 15 to 40 years.

Some of the results: 71.7% of those who answered were males, 47% do not work, just study; 90.7% are single, 82.7% do not have children, and so on and on. Those figures do not represent Rio’s population but the title of the text implies otherwise. Well, 71% declared that they can obtain easily the drugs of their choice although 91.3% of those using drugs prefer Marihuana over any other drug.

What is frightening is that 85% of those who were interviewed declared that they had driven after using alcohol and taking illicit drugs. Of those, 6% declared having had some sort of accident.

Source: Drugwatch International Forum 25th Jan.2009

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