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This article gives an overview of illicit drug use among various populations, synthesizing research from a variety of sources. It traces patterns among drug users to show how they place an increasing burden on society and to indicate directions for policymakers.

Originally published in: When Drug Addicts Have Children: Reorienting Child Welfare's Response, Douglas J. Besharov, ed., Washington, D.C. 1994, pp. 3-31.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.

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