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Research Briefing: Sizing the Market for Powder Cocaine - is a New Approach Needed?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

L Barham, E Bramley-Harker, M Hickman, M Hough, P Turnbull

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366 - 373
Number of pages8
JournalHoward Journal Of Criminal Justice
Issue numberPART 4

King's Authors


This article discusses approaches to assessing the size of the illicit market for powder cocaine, and the inherent difficulties of this issue. It describes recent attempts to investigate more accurate measures of the prevalence and extent of use than have been available to date. A new approach is suggested in which estimates are derived separately - using separate methodologies for different groups of powder cocaine users, and then summed. The review offers some suggestions that future researchers in the area of sizing the drugs market might consider. It suggests that prevalence and consumption estimates for non-problem users can be improved by re-weighting the British Crime Survey for characteristics associated with powder cocaine use. Indirect estimates of the number of problem users derived from arrestee and treatment data should be compared.

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