Does the Calendar Method Enhance Illegal Drug Use Reporting Among Arrestees?

George Yacoubian, Jr., McFarland and Associates, Inc.

While a plethora of research has determined that respondents underreport their recent use of illicit drugs, few studies have attempted to improve the validity of self-reported drug use. The Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) Program is a federally funded drug use surveillance system that has been collecting data from arrestees since 1987. In 2000, the ADAM Program fielded a new data collection instrument that uses a calendar method to enhance the reporting of personal drug use. To date, however, no research has assessed the degree to which this calendar method has improved drug use reporting among ADAM arrestees. To address this limitation, 30-day self-report measures for marijuana, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine collected in Houston in 1999 are compared to identical drug use measures collected in 2000. In addition, kappa statistics for the three-day marijuana, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine use measures and the respective urinalysis results are compared between the two time frames. Implications for drug use research and survey methodology are discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006