BOX 2.2 Abbreviated List of Drug-Related Harms
Diseases transmitted to others
Health care costs (drug treatment)
Health care costs (drug-related illnesses, injuries)
Reduced performance in school
Reduced performance at workplace
Poor parenting, child abuse
Psychopharmacological crime and violence
Economically motivated crime and violence
Fear and disorder caused by users and dealers
Criminal justice costs
Corruption of legal authorities
Strain on source-country relations
Infringements on liberty and privacy
Violation of the law as an intrinsic harm
Source: Adapted from MacCoun et al. (1996).
drugs in the context of a particular form of legal prohibition and its enforcement—a point we address in greater detail later in this section.
In Table 2.2, we briefly list indicators and consequences of drug use as reflected in some of the major federally funded data sources.10 The National Household Survey of Drug Abuse and Monitoring the Future also collect self-reported measures on the consequences of drug use. Some of these measures are problematic because they require respondents to draw potentially invalid causal attributions about the link between their drug use and various conditions—e.g., attributing certain health states to drug use as opposed to a co-occurring illness, or attributing antisocial behaviors to drug use when they might have occurred in its absence. Even when the items don’t require such inferences, their placement in the
Other federally funded sources not listed in the table provide additional data—the emergency department and medical examiner data of the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), the ADAM data on drug use by arrestees, reports of drug-related crime in the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s epidemiological tracking of HIV and AIDS among injecting drug users, and the annual counts of drug-related deaths in vital statistics registers. To a large extent, many of these latter sources have been used less as systems for analyzing drug-related harm than as proxy indicators for hard or heavy drug use of the kind that is underestimated by the major self-report surveys.