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Optimal Dynamic Allocation of Treatment and Enforcement in Illicit Drug Control

Author

Listed:
  • Gernot Tragler

    () (Vienna University of Technology, Department of Operations Research and Systems Theory, Argentinierstrasse 8/1192, A-1040, Vienna, Austria)

  • Jonathan P. Caulkins

    () (Carnegie Mellon University, H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management; and RAND, 201 North Craig St., Suite 102, Pittsburgh, PA 15213)

  • Gustav Feichtinger

    () (Vienna University of Technology, Department of Operations Research and Systems Theory, Argentinierstrasse 8/1192, A-1040, Vienna, Austria)

Abstract

There has been considerable debate about what share of drug control resources should be allocated to treatment vs. enforcement. Most of the debate has presumed that there is one answer to that question, but it seems plausible that the mix of interventions should vary as the size of the problem changes. We formulate the choice between treatment and enforcement as an optimal control problem and reach the following conclusions. If initiation into drug use is an increasing function of the current number of users and control begins early, then it is optimal to use very large amounts of both enforcement and treatment to cut short the epidemic. Otherwise the optimal policy is not to stop the growth of the epidemic, but rather to moderate it. Initially this should be done primarily with enforcement. Over time, enforcement spending should increase, but not nearly so fast as treatment spending. Hence, treatment should receive a larger share of control resources when a drug problem is mature than when it is first growing. If initiation rates subsequently decline, enforcement's budget share should drop further in the ensuing declining stage of the epidemic.

Suggested Citation

  • Gernot Tragler & Jonathan P. Caulkins & Gustav Feichtinger, 2001. "Optimal Dynamic Allocation of Treatment and Enforcement in Illicit Drug Control," Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 49(3), pages 352-362, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:oropre:v:49:y:2001:i:3:p:352-362
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/opre.49.3.352.11215
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dechert, W. Davis & Nishimura, Kazuo, 1983. "A complete characterization of optimal growth paths in an aggregated model with a non-concave production function," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 332-354, December.
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    4. Moore, Mark H, 1973. "Policies to Achieve Discrimination on the Effective Price of Heroin," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(2), pages 270-277, May.
    5. Hartl, Richard F., 1987. "A simple proof of the monotonicity of the state trajectories in autonomous control problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 211-215, February.
    6. C. Peter Rydell & Jonathan P. Caulkins & Susan S. Everingham, 1996. "Enforcement or Treatment? Modeling the Relative Efficacy of Alternatives for Controlling Cocaine," Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 44(5), pages 687-695, October.
    7. Baveja, Alok & Caulkins, Jonathan P. & Liu, Wensheng & Batta, Rajan & Karwan, Mark H., 1997. "When haste makes sense: Cracking down on street markets for illicit drugs," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 293-306, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:joptap:v:116:y:2003:i:3:d:10.1023_a:1023017403842 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Daniel Mejía & Pascual Restrepo, 2008. "The War on Illegal Drug Production and Trafficking: An Economic Evaluation of Plan Colombia," Documentos CEDE 005123, Universidad de los Andes - CEDE.
    3. Tatiana Kiseleva & Florian Wagener, 2015. "Bifurcations of Optimal Vector Fields," Mathematics of Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 40(1), pages 24-55, February.
    4. repec:spr:joptap:v:133:y:2007:i:1:d:10.1007_s10957-007-9180-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:spr:joptap:v:128:y:2006:i:2:d:10.1007_s10957-006-9016-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. R.F. Hartl & P.M. Kort & G. Feichtinger, 2003. "Offense Control Taking into Account Heterogeneity of Age," Journal of Optimization Theory and Applications, Springer, vol. 116(3), pages 591-620, March.
    7. Alfred Blumstein, 2002. "Crime Modeling 1," Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 50(1), pages 16-24, February.
    8. Harry Clarke & Martin Byford, 2009. "Addictive Drug Use Management Policies In A Long‐Run Economic Model," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 151-165, June.

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