The size of the illicit drug market is an important indicator to assess the impact on society of an important part
of the illegal economy and to evaluate drug policy and law enforcement interventions. The extent of illicit drug use and of
the drug market can essentially only be estimated by indirect methods based on indirect measures and on data from
various sources, as administrative data sets and surveys. The combined use of several methodologies and data sets allows
to reduce biases and inaccuracies of estimates obtained on the basis of each of them separately.
This approach has been applied to Italian data. The estimation methods applied are capture-recapture methods with latent
heterogeneity and multiplier methods. Several data sets have been used, both administrative and survey data sets.
First, the retail dealer prevalence has been estimated on the basis of administrative data, then the user prevalence by
multiplier methods. Using information about behaviour of dealers and consumers from survey data, the average amount of
a substance used or sold and the average unit cost have been estimated and allow estimating the size of the drug market.
The estimates have been obtained using a supply-side approach and a demand-side approach and have been compared.
These results are in turn used for estimating the interception rate for the different substances in term of the value of the
substance seized with respect to the total value of the substance to be sold at retail prices.