|Author||: Beth E. Gersper|
|Total Pages||: 110|
|ISBN 10||: OCLC:1147702768|
|Language||: EN, FR, DE, ES & NL|
Drugs of abuse have been a thorn in the side of America since early history. This social ill rears its head in epidemic proportions across the nation, while national, state and local governments attempt to control it through legislation and support for prevention, treatment and law enforcement efforts. Ohio efforts seem unending, while patterns of drug abuse remain evident and polysubstance abuse is pervasive throughout drug-abusing populations. Targeted as these efforts may be, society continues to reel from the effects of drug addiction. A review of literature in drug abuse policy and polysubstance abuse reveals traditional research about political, economic and social aspects of drug use. However, studies have not adequately shown the relationship among and between drugs of abuse. This study encourages examining this topic through a complex systems theory lens, so more effective policy may be created. Three data sources (law enforcement, post mortem, and treatment) provide distinct contextual aspects of drug abuse systems, while complex systems theory provides the tools for understanding relational aspects. This study is foundational in understanding drug systems. Network analysis and triangulation examine these systems in a new way that bridges the gap between theory and practice. This framework provides the necessary information for efficient and effective, data-driven decision making. Network modeling and triangulation show drugs of abuse behave as a system with complete networks that are dense and cohesive. However, differences in network measures indicate relational distinctions by context. Pearson's correlation reveals most significant relationships as negative. Drug clusters shared across data sources are heroin with cocaine, prescription opioids with stimulants; and hallucinogens with marijuana. This study makes explicit previously tacit knowledge about the associations between drugs of abuse and advances the field by offering a new approach for studying drugs. Policy makers need to challenge previous efforts and employ research-based discussion. Policy must focus on data as a driver of decisions, collaboration and improvement efforts. Active surveillance remains a vital role in identifying trends and informing decision-makers. Continuous quality improvement must be supported for monitoring drug systems and making necessary, timely adjustments.