Heroin Prevalence: The Development of a Socioeconomic Model

  • Bradford T. Greene
  • Kareem Nakkash


In an earlier study (B. Greene, 1977) seven models—regional, perimeter-geographic diffusional, perimeter-interior geographic dif- fusional, magnitude diffusional, magnitude-distance diffusional, functional, and semi-diffusional—were examined in order to explain heroin incidence, prevalence, and treatment traits in 251 SMSA’s (cities) in the United States. The study was designed to test some of the propositions of the communicable disease theory of the spread of heroin abuse. The author found that the semidiffusional model contributed most to explaining differences in the traits and that functional (i.e., socio-economic) variables were relatively more important predictors of the traits than were diffusional (i.e., geographic or size) variables. It was concluded that the communicable disease theory was inadequate because it ascribes equal importance to host, agent, environment, and vector components. But communicable disease models cannot be replaced with simplistic functional models that focus exclusively on high crime rates, high unemployment rates, population or housing density, or poverty. Rather, heroin abuse appears to be a byproduct of the complex urbanization process.


Health Expenditure Socioeconomic Factor Housing Density High Crime Rate Load Variable 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bradford T. Greene
    • 1
  • Kareem Nakkash
    • 2
  1. 1.Government of D.C.USA
  2. 2.Mitre CorporationUSA

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