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The Effects of Cocaine and Heroin Prices on Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits

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  • Dhaval Dave

Abstract

This paper estimates the empirical relationship between the prices of cocaine and heroin and objective indicators of use. The set of outcomes is drug related hospital emergency department admissions where cocaine and heroin are cited, for 21 large U.S. metropolitan areas. These outcomes are superior to subjective self-reports, and are policy-relevant since they directly measure a large component of the health-care costs associated with heavy or chronic drug usage. Panel data methodology is used to identify the empirical link between drug prices and these indicators. Results indicate that health consequences associated with heavy or chronic drug use are negatively related to drug prices, an instrument of drug control policy. The elasticity of the probability of a cocaine mention with respect to own-price is estimated at -0.27, and the corresponding elasticity for the probability of a heroin mention is -0.15. The probability of any drug related episode, which captures polydrug usage, is also significantly negatively related to both cocaine and heroin prices. Cross-price effects are consistent with a complementary relationship between cocaine and heroin. Models indicate the presence of negative lagged price effects, confirming the strong addictive aspects of both drugs and the cumulative adverse effects of drug use on health.

Suggested Citation

  • Dhaval Dave, 2004. "The Effects of Cocaine and Heroin Prices on Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits," NBER Working Papers 10619, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10619
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    Cited by:

    1. Dave, Dhaval, 2008. "Illicit drug use among arrestees, prices and policy," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 694-714, March.
    2. Jeremy Arkes & Rosalie Liccardo Pacula & Susan M. Paddock & Jonathan P. Caulkins & Peter Reuter, 2008. "Why the DEA STRIDE Data are Still Useful for Understanding Drug Markets," NBER Working Papers 14224, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Suresh Narayanan & Balasingam Vicknasingam, 2010. "Responses to the Illicit Drug Problem: Insights from Supply and Demand Analysis," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 43(1), pages 88-99, March.
    4. Anne Bretteville-Jensen, 2006. "Drug Demand – Initiation, Continuation and Quitting," De Economist, Springer, vol. 154(4), pages 491-516, December.
    5. Dhaval Dave & Swati Mukerjee, 2011. "Mental health parity legislation, cost‐sharing and substance‐abuse treatment admissions," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(2), pages 161-183, February.
    6. Olmstead, Todd A. & Alessi, Sheila M. & Kline, Brendan & Pacula, Rosalie Liccardo & Petry, Nancy M., 2015. "The price elasticity of demand for heroin: Matched longitudinal and experimental evidence," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 59-71.
    7. Dhaval Dave, 2004. "Illicit Drug Use Among Arrestees and Drug Prices," NBER Working Papers 10648, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Cláudia Costa Storti & Paul De Grauwe, 2007. "Globalization and the Price Decline of Illicit Drugs," CESifo Working Paper Series 1990, CESifo.
    9. Caulkins, Jonathan P. & Hao, Haijing, 2008. "Modelling drug market supply disruptions: Where do all the drugs not go?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 251-270.
    10. Caulkins, Jonathan P. & Baker, David, 2010. "Cobweb dynamics and price dispersion in illicit drug markets," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 220-230, December.
    11. Kelly, Inas R. & Doytch, Nadia & Dave, Dhaval, 2019. "How does body mass index affect economic growth? A comparative analysis of countries by levels of economic development," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 58-73.

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