Beau Kilmer

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McCauley Chair in Drug Policy Innovation; Director, RAND Drug Policy Research Center; Senior Policy Researcher
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in public policy, Harvard University; M.P.P. in public policy, University of California, Berkeley; B.A. in international relations, Michigan State University

Media Resources

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Beau Kilmer (he/him) is the McCauley Chair in Drug Policy Innovation, director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center, and a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. His research lies at the intersection of public health and public safety, with special emphasis on crime control, substance use, illegal markets, and public policy.

Some of his current projects include analyzing the consequences of cannabis legalization (with a special focus on social equity); measuring the effect of 24/7 Sobriety programs on DUI, domestic violence, and mortality; facilitating San Francisco's Street-Level Drug Dealing Task Force; and evaluating the evidence and arguments made about implementing heroin-assisted treatment and supervised consumption sites.

Kilmer's publications have appeared in leading journals such as New England Journal of Medicine and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and his commentaries have been published by CNNLos Angeles TimesNew York TimesSan Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and other outlets. His coauthored book on cannabis legalization was published by Oxford University Press and his coauthored book on the future of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids was published by RAND.

Kilmer received a NHTSA Public Service Award for his “leadership and innovation in the areas of alcohol and drug-impaired driving program and policy research” and his coauthored work on 24/7 Sobriety received honourable mention for the Behavioural Exchange Award for Outstanding Research. He received his Ph.D. in public policy from Harvard University, M.P.P. from UC Berkeley, and B.A. in international relations from Michigan State University.

Selected Publications

Beau Kilmer, Bryce Pardo, Toyya A. Pujol, Jonathan P. Caulkins, "Rapid Changes in Illegally Manufactured Fentanyl Products and Prices in the United States," Addiction (forthcoming)

Beau Kilmer, Greg Midgette, "Criminal deterrence: Insights from an individual-level analysis of 24/7 Sobriety," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2020

Beau Kilmer, Jirka Taylor, Jonathan P. Caulkins, Pam A. Mueller, Allison J. Ober, Bryce Pardo, Rosanna Smart, Lucy Strang, Peter H. Reuter, Considering Heroin-Assisted Treatment & Supervised Drug Consumption Sites in the United States, RAND (RR-2693), 2018

Beau Kilmer, "Recreational Cannabis--Minimizing the Health Risks from Legalization," The New England Journal of Medicine, 376, 2017

Nancy Nicosia, Beau Kilmer, Paul Heaton, "Can a Criminal Justice Alcohol Abstention Programme with Swift, Certain, and Moderate Sanctions (24/7 Sobriety) Reduce Population Mortality? A Retrospective Observational Study," The Lancet Psychiatry, 3, 2016

Jonathan P. Caulkins, Beau Kilmer, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know (2nd Edition), Oxford University Press, 2016

Beau Kilmer, Nancy Nicosia, Paul Heaton, Greg Midgette, "Efficacy of Frequent Monitoring with Swift, Certain, and Modest Sanctions for Violations: Insights from South Dakota's 24/7 Sobriety Project," American Journal of Public Health, 103, 2013

Mark Kleiman, Beau Kilmer, "The Dynamics of Deterrence," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106, 2009

Honors & Awards

  • Best Article Award, Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis (with P. Hunt & J. Saunders)
  • Public Service Award, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Harold and Colene Brown Faculty Fellowship, Pardee RAND Graduate School

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: The 1A; Al Jazeera; All Things Considered; CBC News Network Online; CBC Radio;; CCTV International; CNN; Drug War Chronicle; KCBS-AM; KCRW-FM; KNBC-LA; KQED-FM; Los Angeles Times; Marketplace; MPR News; Minnesota Public Radio; NBC Nightly News; NewsHub; New York Times; New Zealand Herald; NPR, Morning Edition; NPR News; On Point - WBUR-FM; Radio New Zealand; Rolling Stone; Tradeoffs; Undark; Vermont Public Radio; WAMU-FM; WCNY (PBS) - Syracuse, NY; WFAE-FM Online; WTVN-AM; WHYY-TV Online

Commentary: BBC; Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies; Britannica Book of the Year; CNN; The Conversation; Foreign Policy; Huffington Post; Los Angeles Times; New York Times; San Francisco Chronicle; USA Today; Wall Street Journal