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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Committee on Law and Justice
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

Committee on Data and Research for Policy on Illegal Drugs 


Project Scope

The committee will review statistical, scientific, and clinical research, policy studies, program evaluations, and other assessments of drug control initiatives, projects and systems, and provide new understanding from a re-analysis of selected research data sets on drug abuse and drug trafficking. This synthesis of published knowledge will be augmented by expert opinion through workshops and commissioned papers. The committee will also integrate research knowledge on drug abuse and drug markets with emerging cultural factors that contribute to the ways in which drug abuse becomes embedded in the context of community life. Through these mechanisms, the committee will recommend new insights that will advance theory, support decision making, and lead to the development of new strategies in the area of drug control.


White House Office of National Drug Control Policy


Committee Membership
CHARLES F.MANSKI (Chair), Department of Economics and Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University
JAMES C.ANTHONY, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University
ALFRED BLUMSTEIN, H.John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University
RICHARD J.BONNIE, School of Law, University of Virginia
JEANETTE COVINGTON, Department of Sociology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
DENISE C.GOTTFREDSON, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Maryland
PHILIP B.HEYMANN, Center for Criminal Justice, Harvard Law School
JOEL L.HOROWITZ, Department of Economics, The University of Iowa
ROBERT J.MACCOUN, School of Law and Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley
MARK H.MOORE, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
WILLIAM NORDHAUS, Department of Economics, Yale University
CHARLES O’BRIEN, VA Medical Center, University of Pennsylvania
ROBERT H.PORTER, Department of Economics, Northwestern University
PAUL R.ROSENBAUM, Department of Statistics, University of Pennsylvania
JAMES Q.WILSON, Anderson Graduate School of Management, University of California, Los Angeles
DARNELL F.HAWKINS (Liaison, Committee on Law and Justice), Department of African American Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago

CAROL V.PETRIE, Study Director
JOHN V.PEPPER (Consultant), Department of Economics, University of Virginia
KATHLEEN FRYDL, Research Associate
RALPH PATTERSON, Senior Project Assistant 

Informing America's Policy on Illegal Drugs: What We Don't Know Keeps Hurting Us (2001)

 Informing Americas Policy of Illegal Drugs report cover




How should the war on drugs be fought? Everyone seems to agree that the United States ought to use a combination of several different approaches to combat the destructive effects of illegal drug use. Yet there is a remarkable paucity of data and research information that policy makers require if they are to create a useful, realistic policy package-details about drug use, drug market economics, and perhaps most importantly the impact of drug enforcement activities.   


Informing America's Policy on Illegal Drugs recommends ways to close these gaps in our understanding-by obtaining the necessary data on drug prices and consumption (quantity in addition to frequency); upgrading federal management of drug statistics; and improving our evaluation of prevention, interdiction, enforcement, and treatment efforts. 


The committee reviews what we do and do not know about illegal drugs and how data are assembled and used by federal agencies. The book explores the data and research information needed to support strong drug policy analysis, describes the best methods to use, explains how to avoid misleading conclusions, and outlines strategies for increasing access to data. Informing America's Policy on Illegal Drugs also discusses how researchers can incorporate randomization into studies of drug treatment and how state and local agencies can compare alternative approaches to drug enforcement.


Charting a course toward a better-informed illegal drugs policy, this book will be important to federal and state policy makers, regulators, researchers, program administrators, enforcement officials, journalists, and advocates concerned about illegal drug use. 



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