Jonathan P. Caulkins

Jonathan P. Caulkins
Carnegie Mellon University | CMU · H. John Heinz III College

About

376
Publications
81,220
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7,980
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Additional affiliations
August 2005 - December 2011
Carnegie Mellon University Qatar
Position
  • Professor

Publications

Publications (376)
Article
Background Cannabis policy is developing faster than empirical evidence about policy effects. With a panel of experts in substance use policy development and research, we identified key cannabis policies and their provisions enacted by U.S. states; rated their theoretical efficacy in a restrictive form for reducing problematic use and impaired driv...
Article
The spread of illegally manufactured opioids, including fentanyl, has brought unprecedented levels of drug overdose deaths in North America. In some markets, illegally manufactured fentanyl (IMF) is essentially displacing heroin, not just being used to adulterate it. It is not possible at this time to provide an accurate point estimate of the amoun...
Article
Background and aims: Synthetic opioids, mostly illegally manufactured fentanyl (IMF), were mentioned in 60% of U.S. drug overdose deaths in 2020, with dramatic variation across states that mirrors variation in IMF supply. However, little is known about IMF markets in the U.S. and how they are changing. Researchers have previously used data from un...
Article
Background: The illegal drug trade is often, and plausibly, asserted to be the largest illegal market, globally and in many individual countries. It is also claimed that a large share of its revenues is laundered, though there are no estimates of that volume. We provide rough estimates of that proportion and its primary determinants. Methods and...
Chapter
Full-text available
Most nations have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by locking down parts of their economies starting in early 2020 to reduce the infectious spread. The optimal timing of the beginning and end of the lockdown, together with its intensity, is determined by the tradeoff between economic losses and improved health outcomes. These choices can be model...
Article
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Background The lack of an agreed international minimum approach to measuring cannabis use hinders the integration of multidisciplinary evidence on the psychosocial, neurocognitive, clinical and public health consequences of cannabis use. Methods A group of 25 international expert cannabis researchers convened to discuss a multidisciplinary framewo...
Article
Full-text available
Background Many nations place drugs into various “schedules” according to their risk of abuse and/or recognized medical value that vary in terms of their restrictions. To mitigate diversion or abuse, drugs sometimes get rescheduled or are scheduled for the first time. Until now, there have not been efforts to integrate lessons from across the range...
Article
Background To address the overdose crisis in the United States, expert groups have been nearly unanimous in calls for increasing access to evidence-based treatment and overdose reversal drugs. In some places there have also been calls for implementing supervised consumption sites (SCSs). Some cities—primarily in coastal urban areas—have explored th...
Article
Background: Globally, heroin and other opioids account for more than half of deaths and years-of-life-lost due to drug use and comprise one of the four major markets for illegal drugs. Having sound estimates of the number of problematic heroin users is fundamental to formulating sound health and criminal justice policies. Researchers and policymak...
Article
Full-text available
One of the principal ways nations are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is by locking down portions of their economies to reduce infectious spread. This is expensive in terms of lost jobs, lost economic productivity, and lost freedoms. So it is of interest to ask: What is the optimal intensity with which to lockdown, and how should that intensity...
Article
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Background Cannabis legalization and the arrival of nonmedical fentanyl are fundamentally altering North American drug markets. An essential part of that change is the ability to produce large quantities of these drugs at low costs, which is like a technological breakthrough in their production technology. This essay explores possible future conseq...
Article
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Nations struggled to decide when and how to end COVID-19 inspired lockdowns, with sharply divergent views between those arguing for a resumption of economic activity and those arguing for continuing the lockdown in some form. We examine the choice between continuing or ending a full lockdown within a simple optimal control model that encompasses bo...
Article
The traditional US heroin market has transformed into a broader illegal opioid market, dominated first by prescription opioids (PO) and now also by fentanyl and other synthetic opioids (FOSO). Understanding of opioid-use disorder (OUD) has also transformed from being seen as a driver of crime to a medical condition whose sufferers deserve treatment...
Article
Background Overdose deaths related to illegal drugs in North American markets are now dominated by potent synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, a circumstance foreshadowed by often‐overlooked events in Estonia since the turn of the century. Market transitions generate important and far‐reaching implications for drug policy. Argument and analysis The...
Article
Background Studies of opioid prescribing patterns have shown that a small percentage of prescribers are responsible for a large portion of total prescriptions. There is some evidence that prescription opioid use may be similarly concentrated, but patterns may differ by population and choice of opioid utilization measure. The objective of this study...
Article
Background Drug use is often measured in terms of prevalence, meaning the number of people who used any amount in the last month or year, but measuring the quantity consumed is critical for making informed regulatory decisions and estimating the effects of policy changes. Quantity is the product of frequency (e.g., number of use days in the last mo...
Article
We assess the current and describe possible future public health impacts of the legalisation of cannabis production, sale, and use in the Americas. First, we describe global patterns of cannabis use and their most probable adverse health effects. Second, we summarise evidence regarding the effectiveness of cannabinoids for medicinal use and describ...
Article
Full-text available
Background and aims: Supervised consumption sites (SCS) operate in more than 10 countries. SCS have mostly emerged as a bottom-up response to crises, first to HIV/AIDS and now overdose deaths, in ways that make rigorous evaluation difficult. Opinions vary about how much favorable evidence must accumulate before implementation. Our aim was to asses...
Article
Background: This paper combines complementary attributes of web and general population surveys to estimate cannabis consumption and spending in Washington State. It compares those estimates to legal sales recorded by the state's seed-to-sale tracking system, and thus exploits a rare opportunity to contrast two independent estimates for the same ca...
Article
Background: A number of countries are legalizing the supply of cannabis or are considering doing so. Beyond top-level design questions (e.g., who gets to supply and how will it be taxed?) lie many equally important and thorny regulatory issues concerning retail sale and use. These issues will often be hammered out at the local and state/provincial...
Article
Background Some countries allow physicians to prescribe pharmaceutical-grade diamorphine to dependent users who have previously undergone treatment but are still using street-sourced heroin; this is not allowed in the US. This study provides the first nationally representative US data concerning public support for prescribing diamorphine to depende...
Article
Full-text available
U.S. drug policy has sometimes implicitly — and incorrectly — assumed that all drug-related harm is caused by drug use, so reducing drug use necessarily reduces drug harm proportionately. Instead, drug policy should try to reduce the sum of both harms incident to drug consumption — including harms to users as well as harms to others — and policy-ge...
Article
Introduction: Voters in eight U.S. states have passed initiatives to legalize large-scale commercial production of cannabis for non-medical use. All plan or require some form of "seed-to-sale" tracking systems, which provide a view of cannabis market activity at a heretofore unimagined level of detail. Legal markets also create a range of new matt...
Article
Cannabis legalization is often falsely depicted as a binary choice between status quo prohibition and legalizing production and distribution by (regulated) for-profit industry. There are, however, many more prudent architectures for legalization, such as restricting production and distribution licenses to not-for-profit entities. Wilkins describes...
Article
Full-text available
We present models of differential terror queue games, wherein terrorists seek to determine optimal attack rates over time, while simultaneously the government develops optimal counterterror staffing levels. The number of successful and interdicted terror attacks is determined via an underlying dynamic terror queue model. Different information struc...
Article
This paper addresses the problem of a video game producer who starts out with a subscription-based business model but considers when, if ever, to switch to a free-to-play model, which price discriminates between typical users, who play for free, and heavy users who pay for acquiring extra features. The videogame producer has the possibility to adve...
Article
Lanchester (1916) modeled combat situations between two opponents, where mutual attrition occurs continuously in time, by a pair of simple ordinary (linear) differential equations. The aim of the present paper is to extend the model to a conflict consisting of three parties. In particular, Lanchester’s main result, i.e. his square law, is adapted t...
Article
Aims: To (1) assess trends and variation in the market share of product types and potency sold in a legal cannabis retail market, and (2) estimate how potency and purchase quantity influence price variation for cannabis flower. Design: Secondary analysis of publicly available data from Washington State's cannabis straceability system spanning Ju...
Article
The U.S. appears to be on a path toward legalizing cannabis on the alcohol model, which is to say allowing for-profit corporations to produce, sell, and promote its use. Even after national legalization, it will take decades to observe the full effects on industry structure and behavior, or on use and misuse. However, we should not be surprised if...
Article
There are many ways to pursue cannabis legalization, some better and some worse from a public health perspective. Assuming the movement toward legalization continues, a key question is whether the regimes that actually get implemented will be designed to protect public health or to promote profit interests.
Article
Many judge the American criminal justice system to have largely failed in its drug enforcement role, and the justice system itself has suffered a loss of community support and internal morale as a consequence. Five principles should guide improvement of drug enforcement, including that drug enforcement be viewed as a preventive activity, whose main...
Chapter
A central question in drug policy is how control efforts should be divided among enforcement, treatment, and prevention. Of particular interest is how the mix should vary dynamically over the course of an epidemic. Recent work considered how various pairs of these interventions interact. This paper considers all three simultaneously in a dynamic op...
Article
The past decade has seen a remarkable liberalization of marijuana policies in many parts of the United States. We analyze data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) for coinciding changes in the marijuana market from 2002 to 2013, including market size, number and demographics of customers, and varying means of acquiring the drug....
Article
Commentary to: Considering marijuana legalization carefully: insights for other jurisdictions from analysis for Vermont
Article
For certain goods or services, the quality of the product can be assessed by customers only after consumption. We determine the optimal time paths for pricing, advertising and quality for a profit-maximizing firm facing demand that is influenced both by this experience quality as well as by advertising. In particular, there may exist two optimal tr...
Chapter
Can a state legalize something that the federal government prohibits? The states retain a degree of sovereignty; the Constitution does not allow the federal government to order state governments to create any particular laws or to require state and local police to enforce federal...
Chapter
When did medical-marijuana get started in the United States? Marijuana has been used for therapeutic purposes for thousands of years (see ­chapter 5). However, in medicine as in other uses, marijuana had been largely replaced with newer substitutes even before it became...
Chapter
If Uruguay, Alaska, and Oregon have all legalized, why focus on Colorado and Washington? As of this writing, five major jurisdictions have legalized large- scale production and retail sale for nonmedical purposes: Colorado and Washington State in 2012, Uruguay in 2013, and Alaska and Oregon...
Chapter
As noted in Chapter 14, five major jurisdictions have legalized large- scale production for nonmedical purposes: Colorado and Washington State in 2012, Uruguay in 2013, and Alaska and Oregon in 2014. And there is Jamaica, whose 2015 law theoretically allows large- scale production only...
Chapter
What does “marijuana” mean? “Marijuana” is the common (and legal) American term for the dried flowers and leaves of the plant Cannabis sativa , and for the plant itself. The flowers contain concentrated amounts of psychoactive (mood- altering) chemicals known as cannabinoids (produced only...
Chapter
Marijuana- legalization advocates often say that we should “regulate marijuana like alcohol.” What would that mean? US states vary in the way they handle alcohol, and some still allow sales only by state stores, but most apply more or less the following rules: Production, distribution,...
Chapter
Astoundingly little. Much is claimed, but little is known. One thing is certain: people across the globe have enjoyed it for thousands of years, and more than 100 million do so today. Users report that getting high is relaxing and pleasurable, and that it...
Chapter
Why is it difficult to measure the consequences of marijuana use? Marijuana use carries risks. Some are well established; some are probably real; some turn out to be mostly imaginary. Measuring the extent of marijuana- related damage to users, their families, their neighbors, and the...
Chapter
Are there options in between prohibition and commercial legalization? Yes. It’s possible to move a meaningful distance away from prohibition without jumping all the way to the sort of alcohol- style commercial availability described in ­chapter 9. Discussions of marijuana policy in the...
Chapter
We don’t necessarily agree, and none of us is sure. Mark thinks that marijuana prohibition is so broken that even a relatively badly managed legalization is likely to turn out better, especially in terms of arrests and the illicit market, as well as the...
Book
Should marijuana be legalized? Since 2012 four US states have legalized commercial for-profit marijuana production and use, while Washington DC has legalized possession, growth and gifting of limited amounts of the plant. Other states, and even cities, have decriminalized possession, allowed for medical use, or reduced possession to a misdemeanor....
Chapter
How many people use marijuana? Marijuana is the world’s most widely used illicit substance. Around the world, between 125 million and 225 million people use marijuana in the course of a year; that’s 3– 4 percent of the population aged 15 to 64. The amphetamine- type...
Chapter
How does legalizing marijuana compare to legalizing all drugs? Legalizing marijuana involves both lower stakes and less uncertainty than legalizing any of the other major illicit drugs (cocaine/ crack, heroin, and methamphetamine). Not that the consequences of marijuana legalization would be minor or easy to...
Chapter
Does it make sense for marijuana to be a Schedule I substance? Yes, until the federal process finds it has medical value. The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) divides abusable drugs into five groups, called “schedules,” numbered from I to V. Schedule V includes only...
Chapter
What does it mean to legalize a drug? Legalization means allowing production, distribution, and selling of a drug. Possession and use would be legal for all or most adults, albeit subject to the general rules governing any form of commerce— for example, the prohibition on...
Chapter
Is marijuana medicine? Marijuana products used for medical purposes range from conventional cannabis flowers to synthetic cannabinoids produced in a lab. Even among plant extracts, there’s a contrast between boutique oils made by individual farmers and processors (e.g., Charlotte’s Web, which is discussed in...
Chapter
How many states have legalized or decriminalized marijuana? Many states have liberalized their marijuana laws; the exact count depends on the definitions one uses. As of the fall of 2015, four states have legalized commercial for- profit industries to produce marijuana for general adult use,...
Chapter
Policy analysis, in keeping with Jeremy Bentham’s principle of seeking “the greatest good for the greatest number,” tends to focus on aggregate or average effects, with an occasional glance at distributional issues: in particular, the effects of a policy on those currently disadvantaged. Politics,...
Chapter
As both Yogi Berra and Werner Heisenberg pointed out, it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future. Many of the forecasts below are likely to turn out to be wrong. But there can still be value in trying to think systematically about the...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives In June 2011, closed-circuit television (CCTV) was introduced in Footscray (a suburb of Melbourne, Australia) to help deter street-based drug trading. We investigate whether there were subsequent shifts in the settings (e.g., street, house) in which heroin was purchased or injected by people who inject drugs (PWID). Methods Using heroin...
Article
Background: Methamphetamine-related harms have been increasing in Melbourne, Australia, yet little is known of how users interact with the drug market. We describe methamphetamine purchases and use as reported by a Melbourne-based cohort of people who inject drugs (PWID). Methods: A total of 2862 interviews from 757 participants of the Melbourne In...
Article
Background and AimsIn 2014 the legislature of Vermont, USA passed a law requiring the Secretary of Administration to report on the consequences of legalizing marijuana. The RAND Corporation was commissioned to write that report. This paper summarizes insights from that analysis that are germane to other jurisdictions. Method Translation of key find...
Article
Multiple layers of dealers connect international drug traffickers to users. The fundamental activity of these dealers is buying from higher-level dealers and re-selling in smaller quantities at the next lower market level. Each instance of this can be viewed as completing a drug dealing “cycle”. This paper introduces an approach for combining isola...
Article
International prohibitions create asymmetries; production and transshipment concentrate in relatively few places that bear the bulk of the negative externalities created by the illegal trade. These externalities fuel calls for altering the United Nations treaty framework and for individual nations to legalize outside of the framework. Analyses of t...
Article
The task of covert intelligence agents is to detect and interdict terror plots. Kaplan (2010) treats terror plots as customers and intelligence agents as servers in a queuing model. We extend Kaplan's insight to a dynamic model that analyzes the inter-temporal trade-off between damage caused by terror attacks and prevention costs to address the que...
Article
Full-text available
People who inject drugs (PWID) typically do so over considerable periods, in some cases up to 20 or 30 years, before stopping for a sustained period (Oppenheimer et al. 1994, Henderson et al. 2002). One aim of drug law enforcement and harm reduction interventions is to reduce the negative health and social consequences experienced by PWID and socie...
Article
Background: Understanding of substitution patterns in drug using careers is limited. Between 2009 and mid-2013, the purity-adjusted price of methamphetamine declined sharply in Melbourne in absolute terms and relative to the purity-adjusted price of heroin. We determine whether there were associated increases among people who inject drugs (PWID) in...
Chapter
Throughout my career, I have tried to discover, document, and disseminate previously unknown empirical regularities that are relevant to the amelioration of some societal problem. This paper recounts three particular discoveries pertaining to drug abuse, drug markets, and prevention policy. The focus is on the underlying thought process and backsto...
Article
Since the end of the seventies Skiba points have been studied in infinite time optimal control problems with multiple steady states. At such a Skiba point the decision maker is indifferent between choosing trajectories that approach different steady states. This paper extends this theory towards free end-time optimal control problems, where the dec...