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NCJ Number: 213967 Find in a Library
Title: Legalize or Not To Legalize?: Economic Approaches to the Decriminalization of Drugs
Journal: Substance Use & Misuse  Volume:41  Issue:4  Dated:2006  Pages:555-565
Author(s): Anne Line Bretteville-Jensen
Date Published: 2006
Page Count: 11
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis; Literature Review
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined recent economic studies of the effects of a decline in drug prices on the amount of drugs consumed and the number of new drug users.
Abstract: The empirical studies reviewed indicate that an increase in drug consumption by regular users and an increase in the number of new drug users will accompany a liberalized drug policy; however, the effects of such increases are difficult to assess. For drug users, the health effects will depend on the initial level of use, methods of administering the drug (e.g., whether heroin is injected or smoked), the consumption of additional intoxicants, initial health status, etc. For families and friends, increased consumption could mean additional problems in their relations with the addict. There may be fewer drug-related crimes if drugs become cheaper, although this effect may be offset by an increase in the number of users. Health expenditures will probably increase. With an increase in the number of countries adopting some form of decriminalization or legalization of drugs, the opportunity to examine the actual effects of these policies will increase. Studies examined regarding the relationship between drug price and consumption among existing users included a 1972 study of marijuana use in a sample of college students in response to price changes (Nisbet and Vakil); research on the effect of price changes on heroin use in Oslo, Norway (Brettesville-Jensen and Biorn, 2004); estimates of changes in cocaine use in relation to price (Grossman and Chaloupka 1998); and opium use in relation to price for the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) and Taiwan (van Ours, 1995, and Liu et al., 1999). Other studies examined pertained to the effects of falling drug prices and increased accessibility on an increase in the number of new users of various drugs. 1 figure and 32 references
Main Term(s): Drug legalization
Index Term(s): Decriminalization; Drug effects; Drug prices; Drug use; Economic analysis
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