We Need a Taxonomy of State-Level Opioid Policies

Published in: JAMA Health Forum (February 5, 2020)

Posted on RAND.org on February 07, 2020

by Sean Grant, Rosanna Smart, Bradley D. Stein

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The opioid crisis is an unprecedented national emergency. Societal costs from misuse of, addiction to, and overdose from prescription opioids, heroin, and synthetic opioids over the last 2 decades account for hundreds of thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in economic burden. States have responded with wide-ranging policies that vary substantially in their key components and the opioid-crisis aspects targeted. Even nominally identical policies, such as prescription drug monitoring programs, differ in design details across states and over time. These details matter for explaining differential results on key outcomes. Consequently, it is critical to identify the most effective policy components and how best to implement them.

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