The relationship of quality and price of the psychostimulants cocaine and amphetamine with health care outcomes

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2010 Sep 1;111(1-2):21-9. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2010.02.023. Epub 2010 May 2.


A major component of the illicit drug market can be subcategorized as the psychostimulant drug market, with cocaine and amphetamine as popular constituents. In The Netherlands, an increase in both health care outcomes addiction treatment and hospital admissions was noted for both amphetamine and cocaine throughout a period of 17 years (1992-2008). Both cocaine price and quality showed a decrease in The Netherlands during the studied period. We used time-series regression analysis to investigate whether price or quality of the drugs were associated with health care outcomes. Drug seizures were also added to the time-series regressions in order to check for possible effects of drug availability and supply. Price and quality of cocaine were strongly associated with health care outcomes of addiction treatment and hospital admissions. Price of amphetamine also showed a decrease during these 17 years, but was associated with an increase in addiction treatment only. Other amphetamine market variables did not show any relationship with the health care outcomes. It could be stated that following basic market logics does not apply equally to all psychostimulants of abuse. Other factors might play a role, such as the addictiveness or desirability of a specific drug in question. This finding is supportive of the dynamics of the illicit psychostimulant market affecting actual use and thereby health care outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amphetamine / economics*
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / economics
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / therapy*
  • Cocaine / economics*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / economics
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / therapy*
  • Commerce
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / economics*
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data
  • Regression Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Illicit Drugs
  • Amphetamine
  • Cocaine