BOX 2.2 Abbreviated List of Drug-Related Harms

Physical/mental illnesses

Diseases transmitted to others

Accident victimization

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.

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