Social Disorganization and Arrestees' Cocaine Use: A Test of a Multilevel Model

Celia C. Lo, University of Akron

Using data from the 1991 and 1992 Drug Use Forecasting projects, the present study hypothesized that certain social disorganization factors--population density, poverty, residential instability, and racial heterogeneity--characterized the urban areas in which the U.S. crack cocaine market was most fully developed. The prevalence of cocaine use among arrestees interviewed for the DUF at 24 urban sites was employed to indicate the size of the crack cocaine market in these areas. Using hierarchical nonlinear modeling techniques, this study explored whether social control and demographic factors were effective predictors of arrestees' cocaine use, and whether the effects of these factors on cocaine use varied with the degree of social disorganization. Overall, the present study obtained support for the ability of other contextual social disorganization factors, as well as social control factors, to explain arrestees' cocaine use. The results of the present study imply that 1) the most-developed crack cocaine markets are located in those areas demonstrating the most structural disadvantage/social disorganization; (2) lack of commitment to marriage or full-time employment or both is linked to arrestees' cocaine use, and 3) the relationship between age and the likelihood of cocaine use varied across areas with different levels of structural disadvantage/social disorganization.

(Return to Program Resources)

Updated 05/20/2006