, Volume 79, Issue 1, pp 104-112

Regional varation in drug purchase opportunity among youths in the United States, 1996–1997

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This study was designed to examine geographic variation in illegal drug purchase opportunity among young people living in the United States; there was a subfocus on age, sex, and urban/rural residence. Data from the 1996–1997 National Household Surveys on Drug Abuse were analyzed; the nationally representative sample of community residents included 21,531 participants aged 12–24 years old. Respondents were asked if someone had approached them to sell them an illegal drug during the past 30 days. To protect responsents’ confidentiality, there is no fine-grained geographical coding of data in the National Household Surveys on Drug Abuse public use data files, but mine geographical divisional indicators are provided (i.e., West Norht Central, New England, etc.). Results indicated males were an estimated 1.8 times more likely than females to have had a recent illicit drug purchase opportunity, and urban residents were 1.5 times more likely than rural residents to have had a recent drug purchase opportunity. As for geographic divisions, the Pacific division surpassed all other divisions: Its residents were 1.5 times more likely to have recent drug purchase opportunities tha the West North Central division (used bere as a reference category). After controlling statistically for age, sex, and urban/rural residence, fresidence in four divisions was foun to be associated with greater likelihood of an illicit drug purchase opportunity. The observed patterns of drug purchase opportunity add new features to our understanding of illicit drug involvement across the United States.