News & Politics

Drug Testing Purveyor Absurdly Tries to Blame Boston Bombing on ... Pot?

Here's why that's absolutely ludicrous.

Members of the Federal Police escort three sacks of marijuana seized from a Mexican drug cartel on December 05, 2011. A high-ranking Mexican drug cartel chief was jailed for 35 years on Monday for plotting to smuggle vast quantities of cocaine and marijua

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 U.S. 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.

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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 available at  I thought it might be fun to look those figures up and compare:

YearHigh School Dropout Rate (Overall)High School Dropout Rate (Black)12-17 Monthly Marijuana UseCollege Graduation Rates18-25 Monthly Marijuana Use1979no datano data16.8%no data35.3%1985no datano data11.9%no data21.9%199112.1% (1990)13.2% (1990)4.3%no data13.0%199711.8% (1998)13.8% (1998)9.4%33.7% (1996)12.8%20039.9%10.9%8.0%36.7%17.2%20098.1%9.3%7.2%no data18.6%

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?
Russ Belville is the host and producer of "The Russ Belville Show" at