Evaluating the impact of Laws Regulating Illicit Drugs on Health and Society

A Review of the NERA Model Applied to the Recreational Use of Marijuana in the State of Washington

Author(s): Yusra Bibi Ruhomally and Muhammad Zaid Dauhoo * .

Pp: 15-31 (17)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815079241123010005

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Given that the legalization of marijuana is escalating in many parts of the world, the impact of Initiative-502 (I-502) in the state of Washington is appraised using the NERA model (N: Nonuser, E: Experimental user, R: Recreational user, A: Addict). Data available [12-15], on the prevalence of marijuana use, are used for analysis. To calibrate the model, genetic algorithm is performed for the periods prior to and post I- 502. A rise in the peer pressure that recreational and experimental users exert on nonusers to try drugs in the post legalization period, is noted. The simulations show good agreement with the observed data, depicting the efficiency of NERA. Additional numerical investigations are conducted and the experiments show a growing tendency towards the population of marijuana users post I-502. The concept of targeted campaigns of prevention is explained and the effect of implementing such campaigns of prevention 1 year before I-502 on both the experimental and recreational users is examined. The numerical illustrations demonstrate a decline in the proportion of marijuana users when such campaigns of prevention are enacted 1 year prior to I-502. The present study provides a more feasible insight into the impact of I-502 and furnishes valuable perspectives to assist the health authorities in addressing the complex issue related to the rise of marijuana consumption. These findings can be useful to other states and countries considering changing the legality of marijuana use.

Keywords: Dynamical system, Genetic algorithm, Marijuana, Nera, Peer pressure, Targeted campaigns of prevention.

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