, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 65-79

Drug use

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In “Drug Use,” Peter Reuter, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Affairs and Department of Criminology, examines substance abuse and addiction among welfare and low-income mothers. He describes the changing patterns of drug use in the general population. Reuter explains that drug use increased rapidly in the late 1970s, declined in the 1980s, and remained relatively flat in the 1990s. The patterns, however, are driven largely by changes in marijuana use. The pattern of frequent use of more dangerous drugs, such as cocaine, is somewhat different. The heavy use of cocaine—especially crack cocaine—peaked during the late 1980s. By the early 1990s, the number of new addicts had fallen dramatically, although not many heavy users discontinued their use. As a result, the stock of frequent users held constant through much of the 1990s and only recently began to decline as more users discontinued their use or died. His main data sources are the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) program, the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), Monitoring the Future (MTF), and the National Household Survey of Drug Abuse (NHSDA).

Peter Reuter is a professor at the School of Public Affairs and the Department of Criminology at the University of Maryland. Since 1999 he has been editor of theJournal of Policy Analysis and Management. He is also senior fellow at RAND. Among his publications areDrug War Heresies: Learning from Other Vices, Times, and Places (with Robert MacCoun, 2001) andDisorganized Crime: Illegal Markets and the Mafia (1985).