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.

  • Could You Lose Your License to Drink?

    Criminal justice reform requires creating demand for bold ideas about simultaneously reducing incarceration and crime. Given the prominent role alcohol plays in crime — and the strong results from South Dakota's 24/7 Sobriety program — suspending one's “license to drink” seems well worth considering.

  • The 10 Ps of Marijuana Legalization

    Marijuana policy is a growing topic of discussion, and laws are starting to change. Ten choices confronting jurisdictions considering legalization cover many of the critical decisions that will determine whether removing prohibition is a good idea.

  • Unprecedented Changes in Marijuana Policy

    The marijuana policy landscape changed dramatically in 2014. Legal sales for nonmedical purposes began in Colorado and in Washington state. Voters in Washington, D.C., Alaska, and Oregon passed initiatives to liberalize their marijuana laws. Uruguay also started implementing its marijuana legalization law.

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.