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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

    as
    1. Grossman, Michael & Chaloupka, Frank J., 1998. "The demand for cocaine by young adults: a rational addiction approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 427-474, August.
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    3. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2001:91:9:1446-1448_0 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Miron, Jeffrey A, 1999. "Violence and the U.S. Prohibitions of Drug and Alcohol," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1-2), pages 78-114, Fall.
    5. Jeffrey A. Miron, 2003. "The Effect of Drug Prohibition on Drug Prices: Evidence from the Markets for Cocaine and Heroin," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 522-530, August.
    6. Saffer, Henry & Chaloupka, Frank, 1999. "The Demand for Illicit Drugs," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(3), pages 401-411, July.
    7. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Michael Grossman, 2004. "The Economic Theory of Illegal Goods: The Case of Drugs," NBER Working Papers 10976, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. H Saffer & FJ Chaloupka & D Dave, 2001. "State Drug Control Spending And Illicit Drug Participation," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 19(2), pages 150-161, April.
    9. Anne Line Bretteville-Jensen & Matthew Sutton, 1996. "Under the influence of the market: an applied study of illicitly selling and consuming heroin," Working Papers 147chedp, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.
    10. Markowitz, Sara, 2005. "Alcohol, Drugs and Violent Crime," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 20-44, March.
    11. Theodore Joyce & Andrew D. Racine & Sandra McCalla & Hassan Wehbeh, 1994. "The Impact of Prenatal Exposure to Cocaine on Newborn Costs and Length of Stay," NBER Working Papers 4673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Michael Grossman, 2004. "Individual Behaviors and Substance Use: The Role of Price," NBER Working Papers 10948, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    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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