Around Bonfire Night 2007 a rocket shook the peak of England’s drug treatment structure – someone asked how many patients ended up drug-free. Clothless as the fabled emperor, 3% came the reply. Bullish engagement and crime reduction claims were dismissed as irrelevant. Scotland had already suffered a similar attack. The new abstentionists were on the march and the statistics seemed to be with them. But their attacks and the defences put up against them were based on questionable assumptions and misinterpreted or just plain mistaken figures. This forensic examination of the claims examines the good and not-so-good to emerge from this episode an finds some inspiration for the future.