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Center for Policy Studies

Public Affairs Discussion Group

Drug Markets and Drug Users

Lee Hoffer, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Case Western Reserve University

Friday August 27, 2010
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Crawford Hall - Room 9
Inamori Center
Case Western Reserve University

Public policy for the "war on drugs" tends to focus on changing the "market" by addressing either the "supply side" (usually punishing dealers and pushers) or the "demand side" (trying to modify the behavior of users, either with sanctions or some other behavior modification). But the market is a social system, not a mechanical process; and it influences both its direct participants and others who come in contact with its participants.

In Junkie Business: The Evolution and Operation of a Heroin-Dealing Network, Professor Hoffer studies a drug market in depth. What does that tell us about drug policy, the people in those markets, and the effects of both drugs and policy on those people?

More About Our Guest....

Lee D. Hoffer (Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Colorado, Denver, 2002; M.P.E., Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, 2004). Dr. Hoffer's research focuses on understanding the political, social, cultural, and clinical contexts related to illicit drug use. This work has informed a range of topics, including; HIV risk behaviors of drug injectors, diagnostic nosology for substance use disorders, understanding trends in drug use, as well as drug policy and intervention studies. More recently, Dr. Hoffer's research examines how illicit drug markets, and the acquisition of drugs, influences users behaviors and negative health outcomes. In 2000, Dr. Hoffer conducted an eighteen month ethnographic case-study of a heroin dealing network in Denver, Colorado. This fieldwork focused on the dealer's business operations; transactions with customers; the interaction between addiction and drug acquisition; social and economic exchange relationships; as well as, characterizing the history of the local heroin market.

This research is detailed in his book Junkie Business: the Evolution and Operation of a Heroin Dealing Network (Thompson-Wadsworth Press, 2006). His on-going research involves synthesizing agent-based computational modeling techniques and ethnographic research to develop new tools for policymakers and researchers. Borrowing from theories of Complexity Systems, these projects seek to connect the rich descriptive detail offered by anthropology with the epidemiology of drug abuse.

From 1997-1999 Dr. Hoffer was Colorado's representative to NIDA's Community Epidemiology Workgroup. He was also active in the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) HIV community planning efforts. From 2002-2005 he trained as a (T32) NIDA post-doctoral fellow in psychiatric epidemiology at Washington University School of Medicine, Epidemiology and Prevention Research Group (EPRG), mentoring with Dr. Linda Cottler. His research is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Drug Abuse, as well as, The National Science Foundation (Cultural Anthropology & Methods, Measurement, and Statistics program).

Friday Lunch Upcoming Topics and Speakers:

September 3: Jonathan Entin, Professor of Law and Political Science, CWRU School of Law and Jonathan Adler, Professor of Law and Director Center for Business Law and Regulation, CWRU School of Law: Supreme Court Forecast.

September 10: Joshua Stacher, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Kent State University: Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

September 17: Jeremy Bendik-Kreymer, Associate Professor and Beamer-Schneider Chair in Philosophy: The Design of Arab Universities as a Political Act.

September 24: Dean Baker, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research (Washington DC): The Budget Deficit Panic.

October 1: Ashwini Sehgal MD, Duncan Neuhauser Professor of Community Health Improvement and Director, Center for Reducing Health Disparities, CWRU and Metrohealth: The U.S. News and World Report Hospital Rankings.

October 8: Karen Gahl-Mills, Executive Director, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture: How the Arts Levy is Spent.

October 15: Kathryn C. Lavelle, Ellen and Dixon Long Associate Professor of World Affairs: Sovereign Debt and Sovereign Default: International Institutions in the Developed and Developing Worlds.

October 22: Professor Karen Beckwith, Assistant Professor Justin Buchler, and Adjunct Assistant Professor Andrew Lucker, Department of Political Science: Midterm Elections Forecast.

October 29: Special Inamori Center Event, as part of International Peace and War Summit: see

November 5: Kelly McMann, Associate Professor of Political Science: Unrest in Kyrgyzstan and Its Implications for the War in Afghanistan.

November 12: Max Mehlman, Professor of Law: Why We Need Death Panels.

November 19: Jessica Green, Assistant Professor of Political Science: Global Responses to Greenhouse Gases.

December 3: Paul Ernsberger, Associate Professor of Nutrition: Health At Any Size.

The Friday Lunch discussions are held on the lower (ground) level of Crawford Hall. Visitors with mobility issues may find it easiest to take advantage of special arrangements we have made. On most Fridays, a few parking spaces in the V.I.P. lot in between Crawford Hall and Amasa Stone Chapel are held for participants in the lunch discussion.

Visitors then can avoid walking up the hill to the first floor of Crawford by entering the building on the ground level, through the garage area under the building. The further door on the left in that garage will be left unlocked during the period before the Friday lunch. On occasion, parking will be unavailable because of other university events.

For more information about these and other Center for Policy Studies programs, please see

August 23, 2010

Upcoming Events

Inamori Prize Lecture: All the Cowboys Were Indians: The Story of Where RAM Began

Stan Brock – humanitarian, conservationist, and founder of Remote Area Medical (RAM) and winner of the this year's Inamori Ethics Prize

12:30pm in Severance Hall on Wednesday, September 1st.  All are welcome!

This will be followed at 3:00pm by an academic symposium at the Inamori Center in Crawford Hall, which will be a lively panel discussion featuring Stan Brock, Jessica Berg and Bob Binstock from CWRU, and Danny Williams of the Cleveland Free Clinic (the symposium is also free and open to the public, but seating is limited).

For more information call 216-368-2579 or visit the Inamori Center Web site now.

Have special interests and
deep pockets hijacked the
Ohio Constitution?

September 1, 2010 at noon, Cleveland City Club

A panel discussion featuring: Jonathan Entin: Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Case Western Reserve University School of Law and Steven Steinglass: Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus, Cleveland Marshall College of Law

Since the U.S. Constitution was written in 1787, it has been amended 27 times. In the past eight years alone, the Ohio Constitution has been amended 10 times. Jonathan Entin, Professor of Law and Political Science at Case Western Reserve University, posits that Ohioans have cluttered up the state constitution with narrow-interest, overly-technical amendments better left to the legislative process.

Since 1912, the Ohio Constitution has required that voters be given the opportunity every twenty years to call a state constitutional convention; Ohioans will vote on this question in 2012. Steven Steinglass, Dean Emeritus at Cleveland-Marshal College of Law will address the pros, cons and possible unintended consequences of calling a constitutional convention.

Tickets: $15 - Members; $25 - Guests $200/250 - Nonprofit table of 8/10 $280/350 - Corporate table of 8/10 All prices include lunch. Reservations and cancellations are required at least 24 hours in advance of the event.

For more informationcall 216-621-0082 or visit the City Club Web site now.

August 2010










































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