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Informing America’s Policy on Illegal Drugs: What We Don’t Know Keeps Hurting Us
to deposit the MTF files in its archives so that they can be made available to researchers on the same basis as other sensitive school-based surveys. Other approaches may be even more effective. In any case, the committee recommends that the granting agency require that the contractors who gather data for Monitoring the Future move immediately to provide appropriate access to the longitudinal data. Finally, the committee recommends that if access is not provided in accordance with the guidelines of the oversight committee, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the granting agency consider whether the public interest requires relocating the grant in another organization that will provide the level of access necessary for the data to be most useful for purposes of informing public policy on illegal drugs.
The Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program (ADAM) is a redesign of the Drug Use Forecasting program (DUF), which operated first in 13 sites and later in 23 sites from 1987 to 1996. As a precursor to ADAM, a history of the development of the DUF program is important. DUF was designed to capture information about illegal drug use among persons arrested and held in booking facilities (usually jails). Active criminal offenders are a population found by research to be at extremely high risk for drug use (Hser et al., 1998; Wish and Gropper, 1990). They also constitute a population of special concern because of the social harm caused by their drug use. It is well documented that offenders who use illegal drugs commit crimes at higher rates and over longer periods of time than other offenders, and that predatory offenders commit fewer crimes during periods when they use no hard drugs (Chaiken and Chaiken, 1990).
The DUF program had two components which have been continued in the ADAM program. The first was a structured questionnaire administered by a trained interviewer to an arrested person who had been in a booking facility for not more than 48 hours. Second, a biological assay was included in the form of a urine specimen collected from the respondent to corroborate self-reported claims of drug use (National Institute of Justice, 1992, 1994, 1998). DUF/ADAM is the only national drug use survey that regularly utilizes drug testing. Data were collected each quarter on approximately 225 males in each site. Later, adult females and juvenile males and females were added to some but not all site samples. By 1992, as virtually the only source of continuous information on drug use within an offender population, DUF had come to be thought of as one of the major indicators of illegal drug use (U.S. General Accounting Office, 1993).
The U.S. General Accounting Office found that although DUF had a variety of uses and benefits, there were serious problems associated with its sampling methods. Some of these shortcomings are remedied in the new ADAM design (National Institute of Justice, 1998; 1994; U.S. General Accounting Office, 1993). The ADAM program was implemented in 1997