But Meade — a Hoosier, much friendlier than I am — talked to the man for what was, to me, a puzzling length of time. Of course, Meade refused to do the survey or part with the saliva, but he did receive these papers:
"Questions like age and education, drinking, medicine and drug use, mood, anxiety, behavior and medical conditions and personality." No way! Yet over 100,000 people have participated. $90 is an impressive amount of money, perhaps especially to people with alcohol problems. As Meade said later, you could buy a lot of gin for $90. I'm irked as a taxpayer. Is this a federal jobs program to tide over erstwhile census workers?
Above, you see the little brochure, and Meade was also given this copy of a letter that was previously sent in the mail to soften us up for government interrogation. I vaguely remember tossing it right in the
Interestingly, the softening-up letter doesn't mention the part where the government's independent contractor makes you spit in a tube. It also refers only to alcohol and alcohol-related mental issues. Unlike the brochure, it doesn't mention drug use. It does, however, boldface the $90. You get $45 to sit for the interview, but $45 is withheld until you get to "the end."
But "It's okay to skip questions you don't want to answer for any reason." So, you're answering questions and then there's one you don't want to answer? Speaking of anxiety! And then they want the saliva sample. By the way, one of the mood/behavior issues around drug and alcohol use is lying. Presumably, they will detect that.
But don't worry, this is for "research purposes only." We're assured our personal information will be stripped away. What? Are you paranoid? How does that paranoia relate to your drug/alcohol use?
The government simply wants to "decide how best to use money and staff to solve national health problems." How about not handing out hundreds of thousands of pairs of $45 checks to collect data from the kind of people who don't know how to say no to a government that manipulates them into surrendering their freedom for a handout?
ADDED: Meade tells me the man said the saliva was for DNA, something about checking one's ancestry for alcohol (and drug?) related problems.