Markov chain modeling of initiation and demand: the case of the U.S. cocaine epidemic

Caulkins, Jonathan; Behrens, Doris; Knoll, Claudia; Tragler, Gernot; Zuba, Doris; Caulkins, Jonathan P; Behrens, Doris A
November 2004
Health Care Management Science;Nov2004, Vol. 7 Issue 4, p319
Academic Journal
journal article
Everingham and Rydell's Markov chain model of cocaine demand is modified and updated in light of recent data. Key insights continue to hold, e.g., that the proportion of cocaine demand stemming from heavy vs. light users changed dramatically over the 1980s. New insights emerge, e.g., pertaining to the average duration of a career of heavy use (about 12 years) and the negative relationship between levels of heavy use and epidemic "infectivity" or the number of new initiates per current user per year. This illustrates how simple modeling can yield insights directly relevant to managing complex drug control policy questions.


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