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September 13, 2019

Hurricane Dorian, Al Qaeda, Veterans' Health: RAND Weekly Recap

This week, we discuss how the Bahamas can recover from Hurricane Dorian; what al Qaeda looks like almost two decades after 9/11; what law enforcement needs to fight the opioid crisis; farmworker abuse; the quality of instructional materials in classrooms; and veterans' mental health care.

A man walks among debris at the Mudd neighborhood, devastated after Hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, September 6, 2019, photo by Marco Bello/Reuters

A man walks among debris at the Mudd neighborhood, devastated after Hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, September 6, 2019

Photo by Marco Bello/Reuters

How the Bahamas Can Recover from Hurricane Dorian

Following the devastation from Hurricane Dorian, the Bahamian government faces tough decisions. Where should the next rescue crew go? What can be done to provide residents with food and water? How will it turn the power back on? These choices come with complicated tradeoffs. What's more, decisions can backfire and harm vulnerable populations. But according to RAND experts, there are ways to reduce this risk and help the Bahamas become more resilient than before the storm.

Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front fighters carry weapons on the back of pick-up trucks in Arsal, eastern Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, December 1, 2015, photo by Stringer/Reuters

Al Qaeda–linked Nusra Front fighters carry weapons on the back of pick-up trucks in Arsal, Lebanon, December 1, 2015

Photo by Stringer/Reuters

The State of al Qaeda 18 Years After 9/11

Wednesday marked 18 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Al Qaeda looks remarkably different today than it did in 2001. But the group is again intensely focused on attacking the West. That's according to RAND's Colin Clarke and Charles Lister of the Middle East Institute. Al Qaeda's rebuilding strategy appears to have been one of strategic patience, letting ISIS bear the brunt of the West's counterterrorism campaign.

A policeman talks to a distressed person on the street, photo by KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

Photo by KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

Opioid Crisis: The Role of Law Enforcement

Law enforcement agencies are on the front lines of the opioid crisis. In a new RAND report, experts from a variety of backgrounds identify what these agencies need most to help them respond. Priorities include expanding the use of medication-assisted treatment, exploring alternative treatment models, and providing syringe services. The experts also noted the importance of mental health intervention for officers affected by the stresses of policing during the opioid crisis.

Farm workers pick tomatoes in the countryside near the town of Foggia, southern Italy, September 24, 2009, photo by Tony Gentile/Reuters

Farmworkers pick tomatoes in the countryside near the town of Foggia, southern Italy, September 24, 2009

Photo by Tony Gentile/Reuters

Saving Farmworkers from Slavery-Like Conditions

Farmworkers in Europe are vulnerable to horrible abuse. Until recently, the same was true in the tomato fields of Florida. But as RAND's Susan Marquis notes, a unique program there created a new model for agricultural labor and corporate social responsibility, transforming a situation rife with exploitation into one that benefits everyone. This may offer a roadmap for doing right by workers in Europe, she says.

A teacher pointing to a textbook helping a student, photo by monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images

Photo by monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images

Are Teachers Using High-Quality Instructional Materials?

In many states, college and career-ready standards for math and English are more rigorous than ever. But do teachers have access to instructional materials that reflect these high standards? RAND experts asked a nationally representative panel of educators to find out. The results suggest a lack of commonly used high-quality materials for high school math and English teachers. This was also the case for elementary English teachers.

A mental health professional takes notes while talking with a soldier, photo by asiseeit/Getty Images

Photo by asiseeit/Getty Images

Veterans' Mental Health Care: Quality Matters

There are about 18 million veterans living in the United States. Many experienced trauma during their service, which can lead to a wide range of mental health problems. Fortunately, there are effective treatments that can help veterans recover—and help stem other consequences for their families. A new RAND research brief explains what high-quality care is, why it matters, how to overcome barriers to receiving it, and more.

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