Implications of systems dynamic models and control theory for environmental approaches to the prevention of alcohol- and other drug use-related problems. Academic Article uri icon


  • The approach described in this article is premised on the idea that drug and alcohol use-related problems are heterogeneously distributed with respect to population and geography, and therefore, are essentially local problems. More specifically, it is argued that viewing a local community as an interacting set of systems that support or buffer the occurrence of specific substance misuse outcomes, opens up to research two important prospects. The first of these involves creating adequate systems models that can capture the primary community structures and relationships that support public health problems such as alcohol and drug misuse and related outcomes. The second entails rationally testing control strategies that have the potential to moderate or reduce these problems. Understanding and controlling complex dynamic systems models nowadays pervades all scientific disciplines, and it is to research in areas such as biology, ecology, engineering, computer sciences, and mathematics that researchers in the field of addictions must turn to in order to better study the complexity that confronts them as they try to understand and prevent problems resulting from alcohol and drug use and misuse. Here we set out what such a systems-based understanding of alcohol- and drug use-related problems will require and discuss its implications for public policy and prevention programming.

published proceedings

  • Subst Use Misuse

author list (cited authors)

  • Gorman, D. M., Gruenewald, P. J., Hanlon, P. J., Mezic, I., Waller, L. A., Castillo-Chavez, C., Bradley, E., & Mezic, J.

citation count

  • 29

complete list of authors

  • Gorman, DM||Gruenewald, PJ||Hanlon, PJ||Mezic, Igor||Waller, Lance A||Castillo-Chavez, Carlos||Bradley, Elizabeth||Mezic, Jadranka

publication date

  • January 2004