Drug Prices and Emergency Department Mentions for Cocaine and Heroin

by Jonathan P. Caulkins


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The author correlated price series based on the Drug Enforcement Administration's System to Retrieve Information from Drug Evidence database with data on emergency department mentions from the Drug Abuse Warning Network for cocaine (1978-1996) and heroin (1981-1996). A simple model in which emergency department mentions are driven only by prices explains more than 95% of the variations in emergency department mentions. The author concludes that fluctuations in prices are an important determinant of adverse health outcomes associated with drugs.

Originally published in: American Journal of Public Health, v. 91, no. 9, September 2001, pp. 1446-1448.

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