GeoJournal, Published Online 13 August 2011
Paul J. Gruenewald
“Over the past four decades geospatial analyses of alcohol and drug problems have moved to the forefront of ecological studies of the correlates and determinants of drug addictions in community health. These advances have been predicated upon the expanding computational capabilities of geographic information systems, advancement of statistical tools for the analysis of spatial data, and the formulation of suitable social ecological theory. This paper provides an introduction to the study of drug markets in the US as a model social problem for geospatial research and analysis.
“Market and epidemic models of the growth of the methamphetamine abuse and dependence in California are used as examples of two fruitful approaches to understanding the social processes that underlie use of this dangerous substance. Data on the growth of the epidemic are described and used to motivate theoretical and empirical concerns regarding further analyses of the development of drug markets over space and time. These concerns, in turn, begin to be addressed by the remaining four papers in this series, each providing some examples and insights into avenues of geospatial research which can be profitably explored in the future.”
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