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Anticipating Community Drug Problems in Washington, DC, and Portland, Oregon, 1984-1990 (ICPSR 9924) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):


This study examined the use of arrestee urinalysis results as a predictor of other community drug problems. A three-stage public health model was developed using drug diffusion and community drug indicators as aggregate measures of individual drug use careers. Monthly data on drug indicators for Washington, DC, and Portland, Oregon, were used to: (1) estimate the correlations of drug problem indicators over time, (2) examine the correlations among indicators at different stages in the spread of new forms of drug abuse, and (3) estimate lagged models in which arrestee urinalysis results were used to predict subsequent community drug problems. Variables included arrestee drug test results, drug-overdose deaths, crimes reported to the local police department, and child maltreatment incidents. Washington variables also included drug-related emergency room episodes. The unit of analysis was months covered by the study. The Washington, DC, data consist of 78 records, one for each month from April 1984 through September 1990. The Portland, Oregon, data contain 33 records, one for each month from January 1988 through September 1990.

Access Notes

  • One or more data files in this study are set up in a non-standard format, such as card image format. Users may need help converting these files before they can be used for analysis.

  • These data are freely available.


DS1:  Washington, DC, Data - Download All Files (0.2 MB)
DS2:  Portland, Oregon, Data - Download All Files (0.1 MB)
DS3:  SAS Data Definition Statements for Washington, DC, Data - Download All Files (0 MB)

DS4:  SAS Data Definition Statements for Portland, Oregon, Data - Download All Files (0 MB)


Study Description


Harrell, Adele, Keiko Powers, and Yih-Ing Hser. ANTICIPATING COMMUNITY DRUG PROBLEMS IN WASHINGTON, DC, AND PORTLAND, OREGON, 1984-1990. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute [producer], 1992. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1993.

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (NIJ-90-IJ-CX-0039)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   arrests, communities, community development, community health, crime rates, drug abuse, drug offenders, drug overdose, drug related crimes, drug testing, planning, prediction

Geographic Coverage:   District of Columbia, Oregon, Portland (Oregon), United States

Time Period:  

  • 1984--1990

Unit of Observation:   Months (Washington, DC: 78 cases/April 1984-September 1990. Portland, Oregon: 33 cases/January 1988-September 1990).

Universe:   Washington, DC: All drug-use arrestees, drug-related emergency room episodes, drug overdose deaths, violent and property crimes, and child abuse and neglect cases. Portland, Oregon: All drug-use arrestees, drug overdose deaths, violent and property crimes, and child neglect, abuse, and endangerment cases.

Data Types:   administrative records data

Data Collection Notes:

Part 1 has eleven 132-character records per case, and Part 2 has two 132-character records per case. Data contain explicit decimals.


Study Purpose:   The goal of the study was to extend the use of arrestee urinalysis results in community planning by examining the relationships among arrestee drug tests and drug-related emergency room episodes, drug overdose deaths, crimes, and child abuse and neglect cases. The conceptual framework that was developed addressed the issue of temporal relationships among indicators by considering how the diffusion of new patterns of drug abuse and the course of individual drug careers would cumulatively affect different indicators. This required an elaboration of assumptions about how drug abuse spreads, its effects on individuals over time, and the resulting cumulative effects on the community over time. The product was a three-stage public health model of drug diffusion and the influence drug diffusion might be expected to have on various community drug indicators when they are viewed as aggregate measures of individual drug use careers. Stage 1 of the model is the initiation of a new drug use pattern, Stage 2 is spreading drug use, and Stage 3 is drug use stabilization or decline.

Study Design:   Selection of study sites and community indicators were determined by data availability. The first criterion was monthly data on results of urinalysis of arrestees at booking, available for almost all detained arrestees in Washington, DC, since April 1984. The additional data on drug-related emergency room episodes, drug overdose deaths, reported crimes, and reported cases of child abuse and neglect formed the basis for initial model testing. To examine the extent to which Washington, DC, might generalize to other communities, Portland, Oregon, was chosen as a comparison site with similar initial booking tests of arrestees on a continuous monthly basis and community indicators similar to those available in Washington, DC. Emergency room episode data comparable to that in Washington, DC, was not available for Portland.

Data Source:

agency files from Washington, DC, and Multnomah County, Portland, and Gresham, Oregon

Description of Variables:   Part 1 data (Washington, DC) were broken into five sections: Arrestee Drug Test Results (cocaine, opiates, methadone, amphetamines, and PCP), Drug-Related Emergency Room Episodes, Drug Overdose Deaths, Crimes Reported (violent crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, and assault, and property crimes, including burglary, larceny, auto theft, and arson), and Child Maltreatment (abuse, neglect, and other). Part 2 data (Portland, OR) consisted of the same sections with the exception of Drug-Related Emergency Room Episodes.

Response Rates:   Not applicable.

Presence of Common Scales:   None

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:  

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