Bryce Pardo

Photo of Bryce Pardo
Associate Director, Drug Policy Research Center; Policy Researcher
Washington Office


Ph.D. in public policy, University of Maryland; M.A. in Latin American Studies, George Washington University; B.A. in political science, George Washington University

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Bryce Pardo is associate director of the Drug Policy Research Center and a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. His work focuses on drug policy with a particular interest in the areas of cannabis regulation, opioid control, and new psychoactive substance markets. He has over ten years of experience working with national, state, and local governments in crime and drug policy. Recently, he has provided Congressional testimony about his research on illicit supply of fentanyl to several subcommittees within the U.S. House of Representatives.

Prior to joining RAND, Pardo served five years as a legislative and policy analyst at the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) within the Organization of American States (OAS) where he worked directly with policymakers and practitioners. He has independently consulted with multi-lateral institutions, including the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Pardo also served as lead analyst with BOTEC Analysis Corporation to support the Government of Jamaica in drafting medical cannabis regulations.

His research and academic works have been published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, Addiction, Lancet Psychology, Criminology and Public Policy, and reports for the London School of Economics, UNODC, PAHO, and the National Academy of Sciences. Pardo holds a Ph.D. in public policy from the University of Maryland, College Park and an M.A. in Latin American studies and a B.A. in political science from the George Washington University.

Selected Publications

Bryce Pardo, Jirka Taylor, Jonathan P. Caulkins, Beau Kilmer, Peter Reuter, Bradley D. Stein, Future of Fentanyl, RAND (RR-3117-RC), 2019

Bryce Pardo, Illicit Supply of Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids, RAND (CT-515), 2019

Bryce Pardo, Evolution of the U.S. Overdose Crisis: Understanding China's Role in the Production and Supply of Synthetic Opioids, RAND (CT-497), 2018

Bryce Pardo and Peter Reuter, "Narcotics and Drug Abuse: Foreshadowing of 50 Years of Change," Criminology and Public Policy, 17(2), 2018

Bryce Pardo and Peter Reuter, "Facing fentanyl: should the USA consider trialling prescription heroin?" Lancet Psychiatry, 2018

Bryce Pardo, "Do More Robust Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Reduce Prescription Opioid Overdose?" Addiction, 2017

Peter Reuter and Bryce Pardo, "Can New Psychoactive Substances Be Regulated Effectively? An Assessment of the British Psychoactive Substances Bill.," Addiction, 2016

Bryce Pardo, "Cannabis Policy Reforms in the Americas: A Comparative Analysis of Colorado, Washington, and Uruguay.," International Journal of Drug Policy, 2014


Spanish; Portuguese

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Aristegui Noticias; Associated Press; Al Jazeera - English; BronxNet; China Daily (U.S. Edition); C-SPAN, Washington Journal; Frame; NPR News; PRI, The World; WGBH, Boston


  • The Out of Harm's Reach organization distributes free kits containing fentanyl test strips and NARCAN nasal spray to attendees of FEST 19 in Gainesville, Florida, October 29, 2021, photo by Julia Cooper/Reuters

    Fentanyl Makes an Already Dangerous Drug Market Deadlier Than Ever

    Failure to recognize and respond to how rapidly illegal drug markets have changed with the arrival of illegally manufactured synthetic opioids will continue to put many Americans at risk of exposure to fentanyl, endangering the lives of hundreds of thousands more for years to come.

    May 2, 2022 The Ripon Forum

  • Boxes of naloxone spray and fentanyl test strips in a container at The Legionnaire bar in Oakland, California, March 3, 2022, photo by Nathan Frandino/Reuters

    A Greater Focus On Harm Reduction Will Save Lives

    For decades, elected officials brushed off harm reduction as a viable option for reducing the harms of drug use over concerns of enabling drug consumption. But now, these strategies are front and center, spoken aloud, from the largest podium in the land, and during prime time. What caused this historic about-face?

    Apr 29, 2022 Health Affairs Blog

  • Tablets and powder under a magnifying glass, photo by Andrey Bukreev/Getty Images

    A New and More Dangerous Drug Market Requires a New Approach

    Synthetic opioids are likely to increasingly reach illegal drug markets. Failure to recognize and respond to how rapidly drug markets have changed with the arrival of illegally manufactured synthetic opioids will continue to put many at risk of exposure to fentanyl, endangering the lives of hundreds of thousands more Americans for years to come.

    Mar 16, 2022 The RAND Blog

  • Trays of injection materials are placed in cubicles at the SCMR (a supervised injection site) in Paris, France, October 11, 2016, photo by Patrick Kovarik/Pool/Reuters

    Treating Supervised Drug Consumption Sites like Cannabis

    Some communities hard hit by the opioid crisis are interested in opening supervised consumption sites—places where people who use drugs can do so under supervision of trained staff. What could be done to make it easier to pilot and evaluate these sites in the United States?

    Oct 22, 2021 Philadelphia Inquirer

  • Australian authorities aboard a vessel involved in a heroin raid in Sydney, October 15, 1998, photo by Reuters

    Australia Contained COVID-19 Early On. Can It Do the Same with Synthetic Opioids?

    Australia is at risk of a fentanyl problem, but it is better prepared than North America. If the country can make the same kind of concerted effort it did to keep COVID-19 at bay, that could save thousands of lives.

    Apr 30, 2021 The RAND Blog

  • Psilocybin mushrooms being placed into a pill box, photo by microgen/Getty Images

    Being Mindful About Changing Psychedelic Policy in California

    The question for California isn't really if psychedelic policy will change, but more likely how—and how quickly. Now is the time for the California State Legislature to consider holding hearings on psychedelics and creating a commission to assess regulatory options.

    Nov 10, 2020 The Sacramento Bee

  • Scientist taking water samples, photo by Smederevac/Getty Images

    Want to Know If a New Drug Crisis Is Growing? Check the Wastewater

    Few people foresaw how quickly fentanyl would displace heroin, doubling or tripling opioid overdose deaths in some pockets of the United States from 2013 to 2017. But we could have been warned—if only we'd checked our wastewater.

    Mar 26, 2020 Scientific American

  • Fentanyl in powder form, at the site of a suspected crime scene, photo by United States Drug Enforcement Agency

    Synthetic Opioid Crisis Still Growing, Often Among Unwitting Users

    Although opioid prescriptions in the U.S. have fallen, opioid overdose deaths remain at historic levels. The continued spread of fentanyl and other illicitly manufactured synthetic opioids suggests the problem could still get worse.

    Oct 14, 2019 Axios

  • Bags of fentanyl and heroin that were seized by authorities, photo by United States DEA

    Tackle Fentanyl like a Poisoning Outbreak, Not a Drug Epidemic

    America's fentanyl problem is far deadlier than past crises with other illegal drugs. New ideas, be they public policies, technologies or law enforcement strategies, are desperately needed. Continuing to treat fentanyl just like previous drug epidemics will likely be insufficient and may condemn thousands more to early deaths.

    Sep 3, 2019 Los Angeles Times

  • Bags of fentanyl at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection area at the International Mail Facility at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, November 29, 2017, photo by Joshua Lott/Reuters

    China's Ban on Fentanyl Drugs Won't Likely Stem America's Opioid Crisis

    Given China's recent decision to ban the unauthorized manufacture of fentanyl, authorities there appear to recognize a growing problem. But China cannot solve the U.S. opioid problem. The United States could do more to reduce demand for opioids as well as drug users' exposure to these powerful drugs.

    May 22, 2019 Los Angeles Times

  • A supervised injection site for people who use drugs, in Lausanne, Switzerland, September 28, 2018, photo by Denis Balibouse/Reuters

    Addressing Federal Conflicts Over Supervised Drug Consumption Sites

    With drug overdose deaths mounting, some American cities are trying to create designated spaces where people who use heroin and other drugs can have their consumption supervised by medical professionals. The Department of Justice argues these sites would violate federal law, but federal decisionmakers have several options.

    Mar 14, 2019 The Hill