Crack, Powder Cocaine, and Heroin: Drug Purchase and Use Patterns in Six Cities in the United States

Group: National Institute of Justice



This study was designed to address the practical and policy implications of various drug market participation patterns. In 1995, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) collaborated on a project called the Procurement Study. This study was executed as an addendum to NIJ's Drug Use Forecasting (DUF) program (DRUG USE FORECASTING IN 24 CITIES IN THE UNITED STATES, 1987-1997 [ICPSR 9477]) with the goal of extending previous research in which heroin users were interviewed on various aspects of drug market activity. The present study sought to explore additional features of drug market participation and use, both within and across drug types and cities, and included two additional drugs -- powder cocaine and crack cocaine. Data were collected from recently arrested users of powder cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin in six DUF cities (Chicago, New York, Portland, San Diego, San Antonio, and Washington, DC). Each of the three files in this collection, Crack Data (Part 1), Heroin Data (Part 2), and Powder Cocaine Data (Part 3), is comprised of data from a procurement interview, urine test variables, and a DUF interview. During the procurement interview, information was collected on purchase and use patterns for specific drugs. Variables from the procurement interview include the respondent's method of using the drug, the term used to refer to the drug, whether the respondent bought the drug in the neighborhood, the number of different dealers the respondent bought the drug from, how the respondent made the connection with the dealer (i.e., street, house, phone, beeper, business/store, or friends), their main drug source, whether the respondent went to someone else if the source was not available, how the respondent coped with not being able to find drugs to buy, whether the respondent got the drug for free, the means by which the respondent obtained money, the quantity and packaging of the drug, and the number of minutes spent searching for, traveling to, and waiting for their last purchase. Urine tests screened for the presence of ten drugs, including marijuana, opiates, cocaine, PCP, methadone, benzodiazepines (Valium), methaqualone, propoxyphene (Darvon), barbiturates, and amphetamines (positive test results for amphetamines were confirmed by gas chromatography). Data from the DUF interview provide detailed information about each arrestee's self-reported use of 15 drugs. For each drug type, arrestees were asked whether they had ever used the drug, the age at which they first used the drug, whether they had used the drug within the past three days, how many days they had used the drug within the past month, whether they had ever needed or felt dependent on the drug, and whether they were dependent on the drug at the time of the interview. Data from the DUF interview instrument also included alcohol/drug treatment history, information about whether arrestees had ever injected drugs, and whether they were influenced by drugs when the crime that they were charged with was committed. The data also include information about whether the arrestee had been to an emergency room for drug-related incidents and whether he or she had had prior arrests in the past 12 months. Demographic data include the age, race, sex, educational attainment, marital status, employment status, and living circumstances of each respondent.


drug crime, drug, substance abuse, financial, drug trafficking, cocaine, narcotics, heroin

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