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The War on Drugs: Methamphetamine, Public Health, and Crime

Author

Listed:
  • Carlos Dobkin
  • Nancy Nicosia

Abstract

In mid-1995, a government effort to reduce the supply of methamphetamine precursors successfully disrupted the methamphetamine market and interrupted a trajectory of increasing usage. The price of methamphetamine tripled and purity declined from 90 percent to 20 percent. Simultaneously, amphetaminerelated hospital and treatment admissions dropped 50 percent and 35 percent, respectively. Methamphetamine use among arrestees declined 55 percent. Although felony methamphetamine arrests fell 50 percent, there is no evidence of substantial reductions in property or violent crime. The impact was largely temporary. The price returned to its original level within four months; purity, hospital admissions, treatment admissions, and arrests approached preintervention levels within eighteen months. (JEL I12, K42)

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos Dobkin & Nancy Nicosia, 2009. "The War on Drugs: Methamphetamine, Public Health, and Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 324-349, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:1:p:324-49
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.1.324
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jhecon:v:58:y:2018:i:c:p:253-268 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Jason M. Lindo & María Padilla-Romo, 2015. "Kingpin Approaches to Fighting Crime and Community Violence: Evidence from Mexico's Drug War," NBER Working Papers 21171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Lu, Xun & White, Halbert, 2014. "Robustness checks and robustness tests in applied economics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 178(P1), pages 194-206.
    4. Deza, Monica, 2015. "Is there a stepping stone effect in drug use? Separating state dependence from unobserved heterogeneity within and between illicit drugs," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 184(1), pages 193-207.
    5. Borgschulte, Mark & Corredor-Waldron, Adriana & Marshall, Guillermo, 2018. "A path out: Prescription drug abuse, treatment, and suicide," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 169-184.
    6. Angela K. Dills & Jeffrey A. Miron & Garrett Summers, 2010. "What Do Economists Know about Crime?," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America, pages 269-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Dobkin, Carlos & Nicosia, Nancy & Weinberg, Matthew, 2014. "Are supply-side drug control efforts effective? Evaluating OTC regulations targeting methamphetamine precursors," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 48-61.
    8. Kelly, Elaine & Rasul, Imran, 2014. "Policing cannabis and drug related hospital admissions: Evidence from administrative records," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 89-114.
    9. Abby Alpert & David Powell & Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, 2017. "Supply-Side Drug Policy in the Presence of Substitutes: Evidence from the Introduction of Abuse-Deterrent Opioids," NBER Working Papers 23031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. repec:eee:juecon:v:99:y:2017:i:c:p:161-172 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Benjamin Hansen & Keaton Miller & Caroline Weber, 2017. "The Grass is Greener on the Other Side: How Extensive is the Interstate Trafficking of Recreational Marijuana?," NBER Working Papers 23762, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Abby Alpert & David Powell & Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, 2017. "Supply-Side Drug Policy in the Presence of Substitutes Evidence from the Introduction of Abuse-Deterrent Opioids," Working Papers WR-1181, RAND Corporation.
    13. Carlos Dobkin & Amy Finkelstein & Raymond Kluender & Matthew J. Notowidigdo, 2018. "The Economic Consequences of Hospital Admissions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(2), pages 308-352, February.
    14. Anderson, D. Mark, 2010. "Does information matter? The effect of the Meth Project on meth use among youths," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 732-742, September.
    15. Scott Cunningham & Keith Finlay, 2013. "Parental Substance Use And Foster Care: Evidence From Two Methamphetamine Supply Shocks," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 764-782, January.
    16. Francois Cohen, Fidel Gonzalez, 2018. "Understanding interpersonal violence: the impact of temperatures in Mexico," GRI Working Papers 291, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    17. Gregory DeAngelo & R. Kaj Gittings & Amanda Ross & Annie Walker, 2016. "Police Bias in the Enforcement of Drug Crimes: Evidence from Low Priority Laws," Working Papers 16-01, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    18. Fernandez, Jose & Gohmann, Stephan & Pinkston, Joshua, 2015. "Breaking Bad: Are Meth Labs Justified in Dry Counties?," MPRA Paper 66274, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. David Powell & Rosalie Liccardo Pacula & Erin Audrey Taylor, 2016. "How Increasing Medical Access to Opioids Contributes to the Opioid Epidemic Evidence from Medicare Part D," Working Papers WR-1169, RAND Corporation.
    20. Pope, Devin G. & Pope, Jaren C., 2012. "Crime and property values: Evidence from the 1990s crime drop," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 177-188.
    21. GRANGER Maury & PRICE Gregory, 2016. "Breaking Bad In Mississippi: Do County-Level Alcohol Sale Bans Encourage Crystal Methamphetamine Production And Consumption?," Studies in Business and Economics, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Faculty of Economic Sciences, vol. 11(3), pages 55-66, December.
    22. repec:eee:juecon:v:104:y:2018:i:c:p:124-133 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Swensen, Isaac D., 2015. "Substance-abuse treatment and mortality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 13-30.
    24. Congdon-Hohman, Joshua M., 2013. "The lasting effects of crime: The relationship of discovered methamphetamine laboratories and home values," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 31-41.
    25. Benjamin Hansen & Keaton Miller & Caroline Weber, 2017. "The Taxation of Recreational Marijuana: Evidence from Washington State," NBER Working Papers 23632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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    1. The War on Drugs: Methamphetamine, Public Health, and Crime (AER 2009) in ReplicationWiki

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