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CRS — Reauthorizing the Office of National Drug Control Policy: Issues for Consideration (September 30, 2014)

October 8, 2014 Comments off

Reauthorizing the Office of National Drug Control Policy: Issues for Consideration (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is located in the Executive Office of the President and has the responsibility for creating policies, priorities, and objectives for the federal Drug Control Program. This national program is aimed at reducing the use, manufacturing, and trafficking of illicit drugs and the reduction of drug-related crime and violence and of drug-related health consequences. The director of ONDCP has primary responsibilities of developing a comprehensive National Drug Control Strategy (Strategy) to direct the nation’s anti-drug efforts; developing a National Drug Control Budget (Budget) to implement the National Drug Control Strategy, including determining the adequacy of the drug control budgets submitted by contributing federal Drug Control Program agencies; and evaluating the effectiveness of the National Drug Control Strategy implementation by the various agencies contributing to the Drug Control Program. Authorization for ONDCP expired at the end of FY2010, but it has continued to receive appropriations. Congress, while continuously charged with ONDCP’s oversight, is now faced with its possible reauthorization.

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Empirically Characterizing Domain Abuse and the Revenue Impact of Blacklisting

September 29, 2014 Comments off

Empirically Characterizing Domain Abuse and the Revenue Impact of Blacklisting (PDF)
Source: George Mason University Department of Computer Science

Using ground truth sales data for over 40K unlicensed prescription pharmaceuticals sites, we present an economic analysis of two aspects of domain abuse in the online counterfeit drug market. First, we characterize the nature of domains abused by affiliate spammers to monetize what is evidently an overwhelming demand for these drugs. We found that the most successful affiliates are agile in adapting to adversarial circumstances, and channel the full spectrum of domain abuse to advertise to customers. Second, we use contemporaneous blacklisting data to provide an economic analysis of the revenue impact of domain blacklisting, a technique whereby lists of “known bad” registered domains are distributed and used to filter email spam. We found that blacklisting rapidly and effectively limited per-domain sales. Nevertheless, blacklisted domains continued to monetize, likely as a result of high demand, non-universal use of blacklisting, and delay in deployment. Finally, our results suggest that increasing the number of domains discovered and using blacklists to block access to spam domains could undermine profitability more than further improving the speed with which domains are added to blacklists.

Perceived neighborhood illicit drug selling, peer illicit drug disapproval and illicit drug use among U.S. high school seniors

September 25, 2014 Comments off

Perceived neighborhood illicit drug selling, peer illicit drug disapproval and illicit drug use among U.S. high school seniors
Source: Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy

Background
This study examined associations between perceived neighborhood illicit drug selling, peer illicit drug disapproval and illicit drug use among a large nationally representative sample of U.S. high school seniors.

Methods
Data come from Monitoring the Future (2007-2011), an annual cross-sectional survey of U.S. high school seniors. Students reported neighborhood illicit drug selling, friend drug disapproval towards marijuana and cocaine use, and past 12-month and past 30-day illicit drug use (N = 10,050). Multinomial logistic regression models were fit to explain use of 1) just marijuana, 2) one illicit drug other than marijuana, and 3) more than one illicit drug other than marijuana, compared to “no use”.

Results
Report of neighborhood illicit drug selling was associated with lower friend disapproval of marijuana and cocaine; e.g., those who reported seeing neighborhood sales “almost every day” were less likely to report their friends strongly disapproved of marijuana (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.38, 95% CI: 0.29, 0.49) compared to those who reported never seeing neighborhood drug selling and reported no disapproval. Perception of neighborhood illicit drug selling was also associated with past-year drug use and past-month drug use; e.g., those who reported seeing neighborhood sales “almost every day” were more likely to report 30-day use of more than one illicit drug (AOR = 11.11, 95% CI: 7.47, 16.52) compared to those who reported never seeing neighborhood drug selling and reported no 30-day use of illicit drugs.

Conclusions
Perceived neighborhood drug selling was associated with lower peer disapproval and more illicit drug use among a population-based nationally representative sample of U.S. high school seniors. Policy interventions to reduce “open” (visible) neighborhood drug selling (e.g., problem-oriented policing and modifications to the physical environment such as installing and monitoring surveillance cameras) may reduce illicit drug use and peer disapproval of illicit drugs.

How Much Crime is Drug-Related? History, Limitations, and Potential Improvements of Estimation Methods

September 22, 2014 Comments off

How Much Crime is Drug-Related? History, Limitations, and Potential Improvements of Estimation Methods (PDF)
Source: National Criminal Justice Reference Service
From NCJRS abstract:

Goldstein’s model of drug-related crime identifies three categories of DAFs: “economic-compulsive” (crimes committed to obtain money for buying drugs); “psychopharmacological” crime (crimes committed due to the effect of drugs, such as assaults and homicides); and “systemic” crime (crimes committed by individuals and organizations in the course of operating a drug-trafficking enterprise). In addition to these three categories of DAFs, this paper proposes four additional types of DAFs indirectly related to drug supply and demand. Although these drug-related harmful effects may not involve specific law violations, they constitute part of the cost of drug supply and consumption. One of the four additional drug-related costs to society is the diminishment of positive contributions to society the drug-user might have provided had he/she not become dependent on drugs. A second indirect effect pertains to the adverse impacts the drug-user has on his/her children and other family members because of drug dependence. A third indirect effect is the impact of drug market activities on the neighborhood environment and constructive influence. The fourth indirect cost of drug use is the general diminishment of the informal ability of a society to mold the moral development of its members and thus deter crime. 3 figures and 53 references

Washington’s Marijuana Legalization Grows Knowledge, Not Just Pot

August 29, 2014 Comments off

Washington’s Marijuana Legalization Grows Knowledge, Not Just Pot
Source: Brookings Institution

Voters in Washington state decided in November 2012 to legalize marijuana in their state, inspired by a campaign that emphasized minimizing the drug’s social costs and tightly controlling the legal recreational market. Joined to this drug policy experiment is a second innovative experiment that emphasizes knowledge: the state will fund and develop tools necessary to understand the impact of legalization on Washington’s law enforcement officials, communities, and public health.

This second reform, though less heralded than the attention-grabbing fact of legalization, is in many ways just as bold. Washington’s government is taking its role as a laboratory of democracy very seriously, tuning up its laboratory equipment and devoting resources to tracking its experiment in an unusually meticulous way, with lessons that extend well beyond drug policy.

Spreading information on the risks of drug use: a European challenge

August 29, 2014 Comments off

Spreading information on the risks of drug use: a European challenge
Source: Eurobarometer

Young Europeans are less informed about the effects and risks of drugs than just a few years ago. While they widely use the Internet to gather knowledge, a new Eurobarometer survey shows that compared to 2011, respondents are less likely to have received such information from most sources, in particular from media campaigns and school prevention programmes.

More than one quarter of young people (29%) say they have not been informed at all in the past year about the effects and risks of so-called legal highs – currently legal substances that imitate the effects of illegal drugs. This comes at a time when the number of young people saying they have used ‘legal highs’ has risen to 8%, from 5% in 2011.

More than 13,000 citizens aged 15-24 were interviewed for the Eurobarometer “Young People and Drugs” across the EU. Drug use and drug-related problems continue to be a major concern for EU citizens. They are also a significant public health and public safety issue. According to studies by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), drug experimentation often starts in the school years, and it is estimated that one in four 15-16 year-olds have used an illicit drug. In recent years, the use of ‘legal-highs’ has become increasingly popular, and the European Commission is working to strengthen the EU’s ability to protect young people by reducing the availability of harmful substances, as part of an overall drug policy regulatory framework

CRS — Synthetic Drugs: Overview and Issues for Congress (August 15, 2014)

August 25, 2014 Comments off

Synthetic Drugs: Overview and Issues for Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Synthetic drugs, as opposed to natural drugs, are chemically produced in a laboratory. Their chemical structure can be either identical to or different from naturally occurring drugs, and their effects are designed to mimic or even enhance those of natural drugs. When produced clandestinely, they are not typically controlled pharmaceutical substances intended for legitimate medical use. Designer drugs are a form of synthetic drugs. They contain slightly modified molecular structures of illegal or controlled substances, and they are modified in order to circumvent existing drug laws. While the issue of synthetic drugs and their abuse is not new, Congress has demonstrated a renewed concern with the issue.

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