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Gender Differences in Drug Market Activities: A Comparative Assessment of Men and Women's Participation in the Drug Market

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2005
154 pages
This study examined whether and how women's patterns of activity in drug markets differed from those of men.
During 2000-2003, data were obtained from the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) programs at 39 sites. The samples contained 129,189 adult male arrestees and 24,575 female adult arrestees. The characteristics of the communities where the arrestees lived were obtained by linking arrestees' residential zip codes to zip code level data from the 2000 U.S. Census. The findings show that males were more likely than females to acquire three of the five drugs tested (marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamines) through cash transactions; and females were more likely to acquire four of the five drugs (marijuana, crack, cocaine, and methamphetamines) through noncash transactions. Also, females were more likely than males to go to a private residence to obtain crack through cash transactions. On the other hand, females were less likely to obtain drugs from a person in public through cash and noncash transactions. Females were more likely than males to purchase drugs from a regular source, make the purchase indoors, and make it in their neighborhood. Males were more likely to acquire drugs on credit, by "fronting" the dealer in sales, and by trading drugs and/or merchandise. Females, on the other hand, were more likely to acquire drugs through sex and by receiving them as a gift. Drug acquisition behaviors by gender were not constant across drug types. Drug-market activities of males varied more by community characteristics than was the case for women. Based on these findings, the authors advise that researchers should not assume that the effects of gender or drug type are constant across drug market behaviors, but rather differ according to factors in the actors' social structures. Extensive tables and 57 references

Date Published: November 1, 2005