Behavioral and Economic Perspectives in Drug Abuse Research

Published in: Drug and Alcohol Dependence, v. 90, suppl. 1, Sep. 2007, p. S1-S3

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2006

by Yonette F. Thomas, Paul Schnur, Martin Y. Iguchi

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Research increasingly suggests the importance of studying drug abuse from the perspective of the behavior of individuals within the context of environments. Drug markets are a critical component of this context, one that has not received due research attention. To better understand drug markets, researchers must consider the entire range of factors that affect the decisions of sellers and drug users. Economic explanations may help elucidate decisions made by users to enter and stay in treatment. Although traditional econometric analyses of existing databases have contributed to the authors knowledge and continue to be supported, there is a deficit of new data. New and more adequate models are needed to better assess the use, desistance and substitution of drugs. This supplemental issue brings together multiple areas of inquiry including behavioral science, economics, and neuroscience, provides a critical review of existing research, identifies gaps and discusses priority areas for future research. The authors link macro- and micro-environmental factors such as drug markets and their contextual and market dynamics such as availability, price, and initiation to drug use, as well as articulating conceptual and methodological issues of importance when linking economics and psychology in addiction research.

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