The U.S. opioid epidemic is arguably the most pressing health crisis today: In 2015 alone, there were 35,000 opioid overdose deaths—one death every 16 minutes. Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death among those under age 50, and the epidemic has reversed trends in U.S. life expectancy gains for the first time in years. While the statistics associated with the opioid epidemic are uniformly concerning, the stories told about the underlying causes—and associated corrective mechanisms—are disparate.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.