Drugs and Politics in the Americas

This page highlights key resources for conducting effective research for Drugs and Politics in the Americas.

If you need assistance identifying additional resources, search terms or strategies, please schedule a research consultation.

If you need assistance organizing, analyzing, or visualizing data sets, please visit the Empirical Research Center (ERC).

For additional research resources, please see the Political Science research guide.

Eduardo Moncada

Personal Librarian 
Jennie Correia
Social Sciences Librarian
103 LeFrak Center, Barnard Hall

Background Information
Journal Articles/Databases

Data & Stats

Writing & Citing

Finding Background Information - Reference Tools & Reviews

Consult scholarly reference sources and annual reviews to get an overview of a topic, an introduction to a theory, definitions to discipline-specific terms, and more.

Finding Books - Catalogs

CLIO is the online catalog of the Columbia University Libraries, including Barnard Library, but excluding Teachers College and some information from the Law Library. Search the Catalog for book and media materials.

Catalog search tips:

If you know exactly what book (journal, video, etc.) you are looking for, you can search by Title, Author, ISBN, etc.

To find items about a specific topic, first try a keyword search in All Fields.

  • Use "quotation marks" to search for an exact phrase: "war on drugs".

  • Use * for truncation (to find variant spellings and endings of a word): wom*n will find woman, women, womyn; feminis* will find feminism, feminist, feminists, etc.

  • For more complex search, use AND and OR:

    • AND finds records which have all the search terms you entered.

    • OR finds records which have one of the search terms you entered, as well as records which have more than one of the terms. OR finds MORE.

    • For more help with using AND and OR, check our guide to advanced/Boolean keyword searching.

  • Use parentheses to group terms:  wom*n AND ("war on drugs" OR "drug war")

Subject headings: If you find a book that's relevant, look at its subject headings in CLIO and click through to find more related works. Some useful subject headings might include the following:

Find books and other materials in other libraries:

Finding Journal Articles/Databases

There are hundreds of databases available through CLIO. You can use the Articles section in CLIO to search multiple databases simultaneously, including many listed below.

For off-campus access to library online resources, remember to follow the links from CLIO or this research guide. You can also use the proxy bookmarklet.

Database search tips:

  • The general search tips for CLIO also apply to the article databases.
  • If you find an article or a book that is relevant, the bibliography/works cited page can be a useful road map to other relevant literature that was previously published.  
  • If you find an article or a book that is relevant, you can use Google Scholar and some other databases to find out whether it was cited by other scholars after it was published. Search for the title of an article/monograph and search and click on "Cited by" to generate a list of publications that have referenced that source.
  • In most databases, you can narrow your results to scholarly publications only. Look for "limit to ... scholarly publications/peer-reviewed/refereed publications only" or similar language. This will help you find articles from journals that have gone through a rigorous peer review process.  

Recommended Scholarly Databases:

  • CIAO (Columbia International Affairs Online) provides working papers, research reports, policy briefs and more from university research institutes, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and foundations. This is a good place to look for examples of policy memos. 
  • Contemporary Women's Issues provides full text access to information about women in over 190 countries, including journal and magazine articles, research reports, and fact sheets.
  • Google Scholar  is very useful for seeing if a book, article, has been cited by other scholars. Search on thetitle, and then follow the "Cited by" link.
  • HAPI (Hispanic American Periodicals Index) features citations to articles and book reviews in scholarly journals published in Latin America and the Caribbean, along with those dealing with topics relating to Latin America, the Caribbean and Latino/a Americans. Links to full-text are available for selected journals.
  • International Political Science Abstracts (IPSA) provides citations and abstracts for political science journal articles and yearbooks, including literature in the field of international affairs.
  • JSTOR  provides the full text of back issues from core scholarly journals in political science and other fields in the humanities and social sciences from the earliest issues to within a few years of current publication. Please note that, generally, this database does not include issues published in the last few years. You can search just the political science journals in JSTOR by using the Advanced Search "NARROW BY DISCIPLINE AND/OR JOURNAL" feature.
  • PAIS Index features public affairs research, including references to journal articles, books, government documents, statistical sources, research reports, conference proceedings, and publications of international agencies.
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts contains abstracts of books, scholarly journal articles, and major news magazine articles covering North American and international politics.

Finding News

Use the CLIO catalog to find out if we subscribe to a specific newspaper/magazine/etc. by searching the Journal Title field. You can search multiple news sources at once using newspaper databases, including the following:

News Databases

You also can search multiple news sources at once using newspaper databases, including the following:

  • AllAfrica.com posts over 700 stories daily in English and French and offers a diversity of multi-lingual streaming programming as well as a 400,000-article searchable archive (which includes the archive of Africa News Service dating from 1997). Fully accessible ONLY on campus.

  • Alt-Press Watch provides full text articles from over 210 alternative and press publications, including newspapers, magazines and journals. Note the "Translate" feature.
  • Ethnic newsWatch provides full text articles from newspapers and periodicals published by the ethnic, minority and native press in the U.S. back to 1960. Note the "Translate" feature.
  • Factiva contains thousands of national and foreign newspapers sources. Note the "Translate article" feature. It can be a little tricky to use - check out the Factiva Learning YouTube Tutorials, especially Factiva Search Builder and Viewing Your Factiva Results.
  • Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports provides full text translations of newspaper articles, radio and television broadcasts, non-classified technical reports, conference proceedings, and local media sources from around the world. This database covers 1941-1996; coverage from 1996-2013 is available in World News Connection, described below.
  • Google Translate is handy but imperfect.
  • Latin American Newsstand provides full-text information in Spanish and Portuguese from 37 newspapers from Puerto Rico and 11 Latin American countries, including Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil. Note the "Translate" feature.
  • LexisNexis Academic contains access to hundreds of information sources including the full text of newspapers, magazines, wire services, newsletters, journals, and broadcast transcripts from around the world. Note the Google Translate feature. To easily locate materials in lanuages other than English, click on "Search by Subject or Topic" and then "Foreign Language News".
  • Mideastwire.com offers a daily email newsletter of concise, translated briefs covering some of the key political, cultural, economic and opinion pieces appearing via the print, radio and television media of the 22 Arab countries, Iran and the Arab Diaspora.
  • ProQuest Newspapers has articles from U.S. national newspapers, international English-language newspapers, and selected regional/state newspapers. Chronological coverage of individual newspapers varies. Note the "Translate" feature.
  • World News Connection is the continuation of FBIS Daily Reports, above. It provides full text translations of newspaper articles, radio and television broadcasts, non-classified technical reports, conference proceedings, and local media sources from around the world. This database covers 1996-2013; coverage from 1941 to 1996 is available in Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports, described above.

Finding Data and Statistical Sources

International data compilation sources:

  • ICPSR (Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research) is one of the largest repositories for social science data in the world. Among the many topics covered, you will find statistics on crime, education, demographics, elections, religion, and much more. 

  • ProQuest Statistical Insight (formerly LexisNexis Statistical) provides tables from international statistical publications as well as U.S. government and business reports, U.S. federal statistical publications, and U.S. State government, business, and research institute statistical publications.

  • UN Global Study on Homicide gives a comprehensive overview of intentional homicide across the world. You can read the whole report or look at maps and data profiles for specific regions and countries. 

  • UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) provides a large amount of national and regional statistics on crime, criminal justice, drug trafficking and prices, drug production, and drug use. The data disseminated by UNODC are mainly sourced from national statistical systems. Data on drugs are submitted through the Annual Report Questionnaire (ARQ) and the Individual Drug Seizure (IDS) reports, while data on crime and criminal justice are supplied through the annual United Nations Survey on Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (UN-CTS). UNODC processes data to increase data comparability and to produce regional and global estimates.

  • UN World Drug Study provides a global overview of the supply of and demand for opiates, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) and new psychoactive substances (NPS), as well as their impact on health. It also reviews the scientific evidence on polydrug use, treatment demand for cannabis and developments since the legalization of cannabis for recreational use in some parts of the world. The report also focuses on the mechanisms of the interaction between the world drug problem and all aspects of sustainable development through the lens of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

  • World Bank DataBank provides a wide variety of statistics for countries worldwide, including finance, education, civil society, and much more.

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) provides Global Health Observatory (GHO) data and maps on Resources for the Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders.

  • See the Social Science Data & Statistics resource guide for more resources.

National/federal data sources - U.S. Data sources:

  • Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) Drug & Crime Facts summarizes U.S. statistics about drug-related crimes, law enforcement, courts, and corrections from Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and non-BJS sources (See Drug data produced by BJS below). The data might not be the most recent available - try following the links to the primary sources of information to see if more current data exists.

  • ICPSR: Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research is one of the largest repositories for social science data in the world. Among the many topics covered, you will find statistics on crime, education, demographics, elections, religion, and much more. 

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse Trends & Statistics

  • ProQuest Statistical Insight (formerly LexisNexis Statistical) provides tables U.S. government and business reports, U.S. federal statistical publications, and U.S. State government, business, and research institute statistical publications.

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency of the U.S. Public Health Service in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), collects a lot of data on substance use and mental health in the United States. In particular, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) provides national and state-level data on the use of tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs (including non-medical use of prescription drugs) and mental health in the United States. SAMHSA also has collects data on substance abuse treatment facilities. In addition to national-level data, at this site you can get substance abuse data reports for states, Census Bureau Region, and metro areas.

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPD) - look for Fiscal Year Sector Profiles for stats on annual drug apprehensions/seizures - here's the 2016 report (pdf file).

  • See the Social Science Data & Statistics resource guide for more resources.

National/federal data sources - other countries: 

State/municipal/local data sources:

Writing and Citing

  • Barnard guides to citation management provides information about citation practices, style guides, and software programs you can use that help you keep track of your sources and create bibliographies.
  • Cite Source presents information about how to cite various sources in a visual way, and they offer guidance on citing tricky source like government agency reports, House and Senate committee debates and hearings, and other. Check out the source help for MLA styles​
  • The Craft of Research is an online book that can help guide you through the full research process.

  • Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) has lots of general and subject-specific writing tips and techniques, along with research advice and detailed citation and formatting standards for MLA style.
  • Quick Guide to Data Citation (pdf file) is a handy resource from the International Association for Social Science Information Services Technology (IASSIST).


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Last updated April 7, 2017