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
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
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
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