OPTIC Pilot Projects

The Opioid Policy Tools and Information Center for Research Excellence (OPTIC) comprises a network of opioid policy researchers from RAND and collaborating institutions seeking to foster innovative research in opioid policy science. OPTIC pilot project awards provide a funding mechanism to nurture early-career investigators with innovative research concepts in the preliminary stages of development. The principal investigators of these projects will use data at their own institutions, extending the reach of OPTIC methods and data. OPTIC will fund 2 to 3 pilot projects annually from 2019 to 2023. Inaugural pilot projects and principal investigators are featured below.

Principal Investigators

Ashley C. Bradford

Ashley C. Bradford, M.P.A.

Ph.D. Student, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University

Marijuana Laws and Opioid Mitigation Policies: Better Together than Apart?

This study will investigate the combined direct and interactive effects of opioid and cannabis policies on three outcomes: opioid prescription rates; adverse opioid outcome rates; and the overall mortality rates associated with licit and illicit opioid-related overdoses.

Chelsea L. Shover

Chelsea L. Shover, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor-in-Residence, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine

COVID-19 Pandemic Control Measures’ Impact on Fatal Opioid Overdoses in the U.S.

This project will use rapidly available mortality data to measure the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and pandemic control policies on fatal opioid overdoses in the United States.

Rachel Keller Landis

Rachel Keller Landis, M.P.P.

Ph.D. Student, Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University

State Policies and Changes in Maternal OUD Treatment-Seeking Behaviors

States continue to enact a variety of policies to curb prenatal substance use, but it is not well-understood how these overlapping and potentially countervailing policy approaches impact the treatment-seeking behaviors of pregnant women and mothers struggling with opioid use disorder (OUD). This project will explore the relationship between punitive and treatment-supportive state policies and changes in treatment-seeking behaviors among publicly-insured pregnant women with OUD.

Renee Johnson, photo courtesy of Renee Johnson

Renee M. Johnson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Leveraging Local Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System Data to Assess Adolescent Opioid Use in U.S. Urban Areas

This project will examine the prevalence of heroin use, injection drug use, and non-medical prescription opioid use among 9th-12th graders in 17 U.S. cities. Data will come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC’s) Local Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, a key resource for monitoring adolescent health and well-being.

Lindsay Allen, photo courtesy of Lindsay Allen

Lindsay Allen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Health Economics and Health Policy, West Virginia University

The Broad Consequences of Opioid Prescribing Limits in West Virginia

This project will use an innovative, county-level identification strategy to isolate how prescription duration limit policy in West Virginia affects prescribing patterns, health care use, and morbidity and mortality outcomes. The project will leverage a unique combination of three data assets: West Virginia Medicaid claims, death certificates, and poison control center call data.

Sarah Axeen, photo by Steve Cohn

Sarah Axeen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Research, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Southern California

The Impact of Pill Mill Regulations in Texas on Opioid-Related Outcomes

This project will determine how local-area implementation and enforcement of pain management clinic regulations in Texas affect the volume of opioid distribution, the volume and composition of opioid-related prescriptions, and the volume and price of heroin in local markets.