Drug Policies and Harms

A Conceptual Framework

Published in: European Addiction Research, v. 4, no. 4, Dec. 1998, p. 172-182

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 1998

by Douglas L Longshore, Peter Reuter, Jack Derks, M Grapendaal, Patricia A. Ebener

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Existing indicators of drug-related policies and harms--official statistics, treatment data, and so on--are difficult to interpret and to compare across jurisdictions. The authors propose a conceptual framework including key dimensions of policy and harm. The framework is designed to guide creation of a new dataset in which existing empirical data can be used to assign city-specific scores on policy and harm dimensions. By an interpretive process involving local experts and a coordinating body, the authors believe that existing data can be evaluated and synthesized to derive these scores. They also propose a cumulative case-study method of querying the dataset to test hypotheses regarding relationships between policies and harms.

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