Scientific review of the literature on estimating the prevalence of drug misuse on the local level

Series type: Literature reviews


Prevalence of problem drug use (PDU) is one of five key indicators used by the EMCDDA to provide more comparable, scientifically based estimates of the prevalence of more severe patterns of drug use that cannot be reliably measured by surveys. This information is useful for assessing treatment needs, and offers a realistic basis for estimating the social costs of drug problems, for example drug-related crime. This report from 1999 reviews the scientific literature relating to the use of epidemiological methods for estimating the prevalence of drug use at the local level.

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Table of contents

  • Introduction
  • Direct methods
  • Indirect methods
  • Capture-recapture methods
  • Dynamic models
  • Synthesis
  • Discussion and conclusions