Australian Institute of Criminology

Skip to content

How the mix of drug control strategies should vary over a drug epidemic

Australian Institute of Criminology, Jonathan P Caulkins
01 November 2001 -

Jonathan P Caulkins
Carnegie Mellon University, United States of America


Drug problems vary dramatically over time, often following an 'epidemic' cycle. It seems plausible, therefore, that the relative effectiveness of various drug control policies might likewise vary over time. This concept is not entirely alien, e.g. policy positions changed with the advent of HIV. Yet one rarely hears someone say, "I favor increasing enforcement because we're in the early, contagious spread stage of the epidemic" or "I favor increased treatment now, but only because the market has matured". The goal of this talk was to challenge advocates of static policy ("I favor X" - without qualification as to the nature of the drug or the state of the epidemic). Arguments were presented as to why policy should be dynamic, and drawing on both formal mathematical models and rough and ready policy analysis, conjectures are advanced concerning how the mix of drug control interventions ought to vary over the course of a drug epidemic.

Jonathan P. Caulkins is Professor of Operations Research and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz School of Public Policy. Dr. Caulkins specializes in mathematical modeling and systems analysis of social policy problems. He is a past co-director of RAND's Drug Policy Research Center (1994-1996) and founding Director of RAND's Pittsburgh office (1999-2001). He has done seminal work on systems analysis of issues pertaining to drugs, crime, and violence. Dr. Caulkins also publishes on airline operations, sulfur dioxide pollution trading markets, internet-based advertising, flexible manufacturing systems, and personnel performance evaluation, among other topics.

Dr. Caulkins received a B.S. and M.S. in Systems Science from Washington University, an S.M. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Ph.D. in Operations Research both from M.I.T.

No paper available