may be proposed. With it, analysts may be able to develop models whose predictions of policy impacts are widely accepted.

To date, systems research on supply-reduction policy has had to rest on weak empirical foundations. In part because the data available to support empirical study of interdiction and domestic enforcement are so limited, analysts have not been able to provide strong grounding for the assumptions about the behavior of drug producers and traffickers that are embedded in systems models. There is uncertainty about how consumers respond to variation in prices (see Chapter 2). Current knowledge about the structure of retail drug markets is largely based on qualitative ethnographic and journalistic research, as this chapter notes. Current knowledge about how the production process responds to supply-reduction policies is very limited.

Substitution, Deterrence, and Adaptation

In the committee’s view, systems research has much potential to inform supply-reduction policy and drug control policy more generally. However, this potential cannot be realized quickly or easily. The committee recommends that the Office of National Drug Control Policy and other agencies support a sustained program of data collection and empirical research aiming to discover how drug production, transport, and distribution respond to interdiction and domestic enforcement activities. The committee strongly recommends that empirical research address three critical issues: geographic substitution, deterrence, and adaptation:

  • Geographic substitution: interdiction and domestic enforcement activities commonly target drug production, transport, and distribution in specific geographic areas. To what extent can producers and traffickers thwart geographically delimited operations by shifting their activities elsewhere?

  • Deterrence: interdiction and domestic enforcement activities may reduce existing drug supply through seizures and eradication, and they may reduce future supply through deterrence of new drug production and trafficking. Seizures and eradication are directly observable in principle, but deterrence is not. How can the deterrent effects of supply-reduction activities be measured? How large are they?

  • Adaptation: drug production and trafficking may respond to supply-reduction activities by drawing on inventories, by increasing production, by initiating cultivation in new territories, or by altering geographic routes of distribution. How quickly can such adaptation occur, and what happens to supply and price during the period of adaptation? To the

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