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Toward a Causal Model of Drug Use

NCJ Number
Crime and Delinquency Volume: 38 Issue: 4 Dated: (October 1992) Pages: 583-601
Date Published
19 pages
This research developed and tested a causal model to determine whether criminal justice indicators can be used to predict drug use in the larger community, as defined by the health system.

The approach used was to select key variables, examine their association, and quantify the causal relationships through a statistical model. The analysis of the models showed reasonable success in predicting drug use in the criminal justice system. This was due only to the association between demand, based on general population age 18 to 34, and the number of persons found guilty of drug possession. The ability to predict drug use in the health system was poor, primarily because of the weak correlations among the variables. The three measures of availability, based on amount of drugs seized, price per gram of the drugs, and the purity of the drugs in percent, conceptualized as intervening variables, were only marginally related to each other. These measures were either uncorrelated with the justice variables or related in an unexpected direction. These mixed and inconsistent results suggest that the association between criminal justice indicators and health system indicators of drug use is negligible for the time period and geographic areas studied. 4 tables, 3 figures, 4 notes, and 15 references

Date Published: January 1, 1992