Drug Policy Research Center Hot Topic: Heroin and Other Opioids

The RAND Drug Policy Research Center is a non-partisan research center dedicated to providing objective analysis and research to decisionmakers. We do not have an official policy position on opioid use and more generally RAND does not advocate for or against legislation at any level of government.

For almost 30 years, RAND researchers have published articles and studies that will be useful for those making decisions about policies related to opioids. Here we summarize some of these studies and provide links to the publications (some journal articles may require subscription). This is not an exhaustive list of RAND's opioid-related publications and we encourage readers to visit the DPRC homepage for more information.

Featured Research

  • Sep 14, 2018

    How Often Are Opioids Prescribed Without a Pain Diagnosis?

    Opioid use increased dramatically in the last two decades, eclipsing the increase in patient pain. Nearly 30 percent of opioid prescriptions in the U.S. between 2006 and 2015 were written without an accompanying pain diagnosis.

Commentary

  • Conversations at RAND: A Sobering Look at the Opioid Epidemic

    Opioid overdoses were the greatest cause of accidental death in America in 2014. A panel discussion at RAND addressed the epidemic, including societal attitudes toward pain and addiction, poor understanding of the mechanics of addiction itself, economic drivers, legal responses, and treatment approaches.

  • Opioid Rising: How to Stop the World's Growing Heroin Crisis

    Sixty-seven people will die today in America because of heroin or narcotic painkillers, if recent overdose statistics are any guide. RAND research offers strategies to save those lives and thousands more around the world.

  • Hard Drugs Demand Solid Understanding

    Due to budget concerns the federal government just shut down a critical data source that provides insights into abuse, dependence on, and spending on heroin and other hard drugs like crack and methamphetamine.

  • U.S. Needs to Improve Community-Based Drug, Alcohol Prevention

    As familiar as Americans are with the problems of youth drug and alcohol abuse, we are not identifying all the potential solutions. While observers criticize overemphasis in U.S. policy on enforcement and scant resources devoted to treatment, the focus on these approaches often ignores a key piece of the puzzle: prevention.

Multimedia

  • Opioids

    Multimedia

    Evolution of the U.S. Overdose Crisis

    Sep 6, 2018

    An overview of testimony by Bryce Pardo presented before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations on September 6, 2018.

Research Categories:

Treatment and Prescribing

Use and Abuse

Policy, Law, and Regulation

Economics of Opioids and Supply

Prevention and Interventions

Harm Reduction