The Myth of Rural Safety

A new study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University reveals an alarming rate of drug and alcohol usage in rural America. The study found that eighth-graders in rural America are 104 percent more likely than those in urban centers to use amphetamines, including methamphetamines, and 50 percent more likely to use cocaine. They are 83 percent likelier to use crack cocaine, and 34 percent likelier to smoke marijuana than eighth-graders in urban centers.

The study also found that:

• Eighth-graders in rural areas were 70 percent likelier to have gotten drunk, and 29 percent likelier to drink alcohol.

• Eighth-graders were more than twice as likely to smoke cigarettes, and nearly five times likelier to use smokeless tobacco.

• Among 10th-graders, use rates in rural areas exceeded those in large urban areas for every drug except marijuana and the methamphetamine known as ecstasy.

• Among 12th-graders, use rates in rural America exceeded those in large urban areas for cocaine, crack, amphetamines, inhalants, alcohol, cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco.

Associated Press, January 26, 2000



Taking the Ridiculous to its Logical End

A new book by Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer uses evolutionary biology to explain the causes of rape. The authors claim that evolved adaptation gives rise to rape and that it is merely a function of sexual desire rather than a crime of power. Thornhill and Palmer suggest that sexual coercion has merely evolved as a means to increase the reproductive success of those men who would otherwise be rejected as mates. As supporting evidence, the authors cite the facts that rape victims tend to be in their prime reproductive years and that women of childbearing age suffer more violence during rape because they fight harder to prevent an unwanted conception. They recommend that young women consider the biological causes of rape when making decisions about dress, appearance, and social activities, and that young men learn to control their natural urges.

Thornhill said the book does not condone rape; it merely explores its biological roots. The authors contend that forced procreation is documented in species ranging from insects to apes, and humans are no different.

According to the authors, rape could cease to exist only in a society knowledgeable about its evolutionary causes.

Associated Press, March 8, 2000, MIT Press Book Review, March 14, 2000

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