This does reduce the quantity of illicit drugs bought and sold but, as in any other market, the shortage drives up the equilibrium price” and opportunity cost (Stonebraker 2010). Understanding the average price of illicit drugs and the rates of drug-related crime enables government policy-makers to understand the opportunity cost of drugs for both the user and the community.
Research can also play a critical role in another building-block of drug and health-related policy: prevention. Different anti-drug education programs in school may be appropriate, depending upon the demographic population of the student body. But the three most popular programs used by schools, which are federally funded through moneys dispersed to the state and are designed to prevent drug use “are not among those proven to be effective, according to a survey of 81 school districts in 11 states. The most common programs used by school districts are Drug Awareness and Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.), Heres Looking at You and McGruffs Drug Prevention and Child Protection” but they lack effective mentorship and peer support techniques, which are associated with higher rates of compliance, particularly amongst urban youths (Study, 2010, UNC). Finally, expanding healthcare access in general may be helpful in reducing drug abuse of harmful drugs, and encouraging preventative self-care and self-respect.
All of these are examples of how research often subverts conventional expectations about drug use and abuse — and provides guidance about how to fund and shape future policy.
Drug treatment vs. supply side measures. (2002). Drug policy treatment. Retrieved June 26,
2010 at http://www.drugpolicy.org/library/factsheets/drugtreatmen/index.cfm
Stonebraker, Robert J. (2010). Supply-side drug policy: Will it ever work? The Joy of Economics: Making Sense out of Life. Retrieved June 26, 2010 at http://faculty.winthrop.edu/stonebrakerr/book/supplysidedrugs.htm
Study finds few schools using effective anti-drug programs. (2000, May). University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill. Press Release. Retrieved June 26, 2010 at http://www.unc.edu/news/archives/may00/halfors050300.htm.