Welcome to the RAND Drug Policy Research Center

Providing decisionmakers with rigorous, nonpartisan research on substance use and drug policy

Since 1989, the RAND Drug Policy Research Center has conducted research to help decisionmakers in the United States and throughout the world address issues involving alcohol and other drugs. In doing so, the Center brings an objective and data-driven perspective to this often emotional and fractious policy arena.

From the RAND Blog

  • Taking a Sober Look at Legalizing Marijuana

    California and a handful of other states will probably vote on legal pot in 2016. Whether it passes will depend on the quality of the proposal, how much money is involved in the campaigns, and how things play out in Colorado, Washington, and other places that have legalized production and sales.

  • CVS Health: Breathing a Little Easier and Holding Our Breath

    CVS has officially stopped selling cigarettes and other tobacco products, a move that will cost the pharmacy chain about $2 billion in annual profits. It's difficult to say if this will affect smoking. For now, the ban is most significant for what it represents symbolically.

  • Legalising Cannabis Is More Than Just a Yes or No Decision

    Any truly honest discussion about how to regulate cannabis markets must start with clear objectives and goals. How these markets are opened can be as important as the decision to legalize cannabis.

  • Hard Drugs Demand Solid Understanding

    Due to budget concerns the federal government just shut down a critical data source that provides insights into abuse, dependence on, and spending on heroin and other hard drugs like crack and methamphetamine.

  • U.S. Needs to Improve Community-Based Drug, Alcohol Prevention

    As familiar as Americans are with the problems of youth drug and alcohol abuse, we are not identifying all the potential solutions. While observers criticize overemphasis in U.S. policy on enforcement and scant resources devoted to treatment, the focus on these approaches often ignores a key piece of the puzzle: prevention.

  • The Feds' Role After Legalization

    Since Colorado and Washington allow profit-maximizing firms to grow and sell marijuana, there is concern they will use advertising to promote consumption by heavy users. With help from the federal government, the states will be better positioned to head off the negative consequences associated with commercialization.

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Implementation of Medical Marijuana and Its Impact on Health

Drug purchasingFew studies have considered how medical marijuana policies affect recreational marijuana use or individual and public health outcomes, and the few published quantitative studies on the topic find disparate results. This NIH/NIDA-funded project will systematically code medical marijuana policies at the state level into a database, paying careful attention to issues related to access and supply. The data, once completed, will be made available to other researchers.

Adolescent Alcohol and Drug Use Trajectories: The Role of Race and Ethnicity

Middle school students This health promotion and disease prevention project will measure youth alcohol and drug use annually in a racially and ethnically diverse sample of middle school and high school students.

Preventing and Managing Prescription Drug Misuse Among Military Personnel

To estimate the potential burden that prescription drug misuse poses to the military and identify promising practices to prevent and treat prescription drug misuse.

Treating Depression in People with Substance Abuse Problems

depressionBuilding Recovery by Improving Goals, Habits, and Thoughts (BRIGHT) is a group cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, to treat depression in people with substance abuse problems.

Analyzing the Illicit Drug Market in the EU

To further analyze Europe's illicit drug market and the EU's responses to it, DPRC and RAND Europe are teaming with European partners to expand their original 2009 research on the global drug market.

Evaluating the Causal Pathways from Lapse to Relapse in Smokers

The goal of this project is to uncover the psychological variables that cause smokers to relapse. The results will be used to inform a new generation of more successful smoking cessation treatments.

Measuring Drug Related Crime

handcuffs and moneyRAND was awarded a contract to develop a methodology for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to estimate drug-related crimes in the United States and to pilot test the proposed methodology using a select number of data sources to develop estimates at the national level.

Evaluating the Efficacy of Social Impact Bonds to Reduce Criminal Recidivism

RAND Europe has been commissioned to evaluate the development, implementation and operation of this first ever Social Impact Bond.