Joint Research Centre - European Commission

The European Commission's in-house science service
European Commission


The JRC contributed to the development of the US Drug Consequences Indices© Madyart (stock.xchng), 2008

Monitoring the harmful consequences of several drugs in the USA


The JRC and the University of South Carolina co-authored a study developing a series of indices to measure the drug consequences in the USA over the last decade. It is the first set of indices developed in a US context that summarises the multidimensional phenomenon of drug-related consequences over a multi-year period. The JRC was invited to underpin all the analytical work, given its renowned expertise on composite indicators for policy making. The study was published by the Office for National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) of the White House.

The US Drug Consequences Indices (DCIs) that were developed in this study measure the harmful effects of several drugs. The National DCI monitors trends in drug-related consequences for the US as a whole, and the State DCIs measure drug-specific consequences for four drugs ‒ heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana ‒ across states from 2000 to 2009. Drug consequences are measured in three main areas: health, the social and economic context, and crime and disorder.

Map: State Drug Consequences Indices 2009

Several drugs and their associated consequences are highly regionalised in the US.© ONDCP, 2013

The US Drug Consequences Indices were created in order to provide data-driven input to policy formulation and resource allocation, and enhance the utility of drug data systems for reporting, outcome evaluation, and policy analysis. The DCIs can also help fulfill reporting requirements, as well as improve the effectiveness of communication with legislators, professionals dealing with drug abuse and law enforcement, the media, and the general public.