The Influence of Geographic Differences on Drug Use and Dependency Among Urban Arrestees

Dean R. Gerstein, NORC at the University of Chicago
Zhiwei Zhang, National Opinion Research Center
Diana Noone, National Institute of Justice
Michael Yang, National Opinion Research Center
Bruce Taylor, National Institute of Justice

A number of data systems of national scale provide systematic information about drug use and dependency patterns. Inferences may be drawn from some of these systems about economic, cultural, sociological, and organizational influences on drug use. In this paper we examine variations in characteristics of urban areas as these relate to measures of drug use prevalence, frequency, and consequences of use, such as drug dependence, among arrestees. Against a backdrop of geocoded among household and clinical population data since the early 1990s, we focus on 2000-2001 data from the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) Program. During this period, ADAM drew random probability samples of very recent arrestees, summing to approximately 40,000 cases, from booking facilities in 34 U.S. metropolitan areas of diverse sizes. Interview and urinalysis testing data were obtained along with arrest information on the interview sample and on censuses of arrestees in these locations, permitting data to be systematically weighted to the catchment areas. Using exploratory analysis and multilevel OLS and logistic modeling approaches, we will report on the influence of areal characteristics at the site and regional level, controlling for individual arrestee characteristics, to explain differences in types of drugs used and in patterns of use.

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Updated 05/20/2006