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Using ADAM Data to Investigate the Effectiveness of Law Enforcement

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2007
102 pages
This study examined whether arrestees' responses to questions in the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) survey could be used to assess the effectiveness of drug law enforcement interventions in the jurisdictions where the ADAM survey was conducted.
The study concludes that an ADAM-type survey would be a useful means of evaluating the effectiveness of drug enforcement programs designed to decrease the availability of illegal drugs and hence the abuse of those drugs. The study reached this conclusion because of three findings. First, major enforcement events apparently influenced drug markets, causing buyers to alter their purchasing behaviors. Second, major drug enforcement events apparently temporarily reduced supply and increased illegal drug prices, although the effect was difficult to identify because of the absence of county-specific price data. Third, major drug enforcement events apparently had no important effect on consumption, presumably because markets adjusted by substituting lower purity drugs when drugs were in relatively short supply. The current ADAM survey, however, was not designed as an evaluation tool for drug enforcement strategies. A research agenda designed to modify the ADAM survey for evaluation purposes would focus on aspects of local drug markets that should be sensitive to enforcement practices and that would be valuable as criteria for the effectiveness of enforcement practices. In addition to a modified survey instrument, there should also be systematic collections of data on major drug enforcement events and price/purity for drugs exchanged at retail. Researchers collected ADAM data from 10 counties and matched the ADAM data with illegal drug prices from the System to Retrieve Information From Drug Evidence. Data on drug law enforcement events were obtained primarily through newspaper accounts, accompanied by verification with police officials when possible. 4 figures, 15 tables, 62 references, and appended statistical methodology for recoding market indicator variables and the identification of drug law enforcement events

Date Published: November 1, 2007