Congressional Briefing: September 13, 2019

Preparing for the Future of Fentanyl: Considerations for Congress in Tackling the Synthetic Opioid Crisis

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer talks about plastic bags of Fentanyl being discovered in the mail at the International Mail Facility at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, November 29, 2017

Photo by Joshua Lott/Reuters


Friday, September 13, 2019


10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.


2044 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C.

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About the Briefing

The rates of overdose fatalities involving heroin or prescription opioids have slowed in recent years but are now outnumbered by overdoses involving synthetic opioids. The introduction of illicitly manufactured synthetic opioids like fentanyl to U.S. drug markets has presented new challenges for policymakers working to reverse this public health crisis. What do policymakers need to consider in their efforts to address this threat in the United States?

RAND researchers recently analyzed the past, present, and possible futures of fentanyl in the United States. In this briefing, Bryce Pardo, Associate Policy Researcher, and Beau Kilmer, Director of the Drug Policy Research Center, will discuss:

  • Recent trends in U.S. fatal overdoses and drug seizures
  • Factors that have contributed to the rise of synthetic opioids in the U.S.
  • What the future of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids looks like
  • Traditional and non-traditional policy options for addressing fentanyl problems

About the Speakers

Bryce Pardo is an associate policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. His research focuses on drug policy with a particular interest in the areas of cannabis regulation, opioid control, and new psychoactive substance markets. His recent work has involved analyzing trends related to synthetic opioid supply and use and China’s role in the production and supply of synthetic opioids. Pardo earned his Ph.D. in public policy from the University of Maryland.

Beau Kilmer is a senior policy researcher and director of the Drug Policy Research Center at the RAND Corporation. His research lies at the intersection of public health and public safety, with special emphasis on crime control, substance use, illicit markets, and public policy. Some of his current projects include analyzing the consequences of cannabis legalization; measuring the effect of 24/7 Sobriety programs on DUI, domestic violence, and mortality; and assessing the evidence and arguments made about implementing heroin-assisted treatment and supervised consumption sites in the United States. Kilmer earned his Ph.D. in public policy from Harvard University.

How to Attend

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