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

  • Should Some Californians Lose Their 'License to Drink'?

    In California, many efforts to reduce repeat drunken driving focus on the driving. What if the state targeted the “drunk” aspect instead?

  • Researcher Q&A: Beau Kilmer on the State of Marijuana Legalization

    Beau Kilmer, co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center and a co-author of the nonpartisan primer Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know addresses developments in marijuana policy and why reasonable people can disagree about legalization.

  • What Are the Public Health Consequences of Legalizing Marijuana?

    Legalizing and allowing profit-maximizing firms to produce, sell, and advertise recreational marijuana would likely increase marijuana consumption. But how would this increased consumption influence the use of other substances?

  • 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.

  • Is Concern About Powdered Alcohol Distracting from More Serious Drinking Problems?

    Powdered alcohol is at this point a curiosity, not a threat. Americans should be more worried about the health problems caused by widespread misuse of liquid alcohol.

  • Making Prevention a Priority

    A bill legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes in Vermont has a strong possibility of passing. Lawmakers and communities should focus on putting in place drug prevention programs aimed at young people, considering that their marijuana use is higher in Vermont than the national average.

Motivational Interviewing and Culture for Urban Native American Youth (MICUNAY) — The goal of this project is to develop a cultural intervention that also addresses substance use for Native American adolescents. Researchers will work with elders and providers in the community and test the material with youth in two sites, L.A. and Oakland.

International Alcohol Policy Model — We propose a five-year project in which a unique team of international experts and organizations constructs an alcohol policy computer micro-simulation platform.

Evaluating South Dakota's 24/7 Sobriety Program — This study proposes a rigorous evaluation of a large-scale and innovative program in South Dakota that has received significant attention as a successful approach to reducing alcohol consumption in community corrections settings. South Dakota's 24/7 Sobriety Program (24/7) requires that offenders submit to breathalyzer tests twice per day. Those testing positive or missing a test face an immediate, but brief, jail term. Since 2005 there have been more than 25,000 participants and our calculations suggest participation rates of at least 5% among all males aged 22-40.

An Experience-Sampling Study of Exposure to Alcohol Marketing and Youth Drinking — Using a longitudinal design, we will follow a cohort of 750 youth recruited in Los Angeles-area middle schools for two years.

Implementation of Medical Marijuana and Its Impact on Health — Few 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.

Treating Depression in People with Substance Abuse Problems — Building 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.

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.