A RAND initiative to map the unexplored consequences of America's opioid crisis—and discover big-picture solutions.
Opioid overdoses claim the lives of 130 Americans each day. And yet the devastating effects of the opioid crisis don't stop there.
The social and economic consequences of opioid overdoses and addiction are disrupting human lives and societal systems in ways that have yet to be fully explored—until now.
This RAND research initiative is a multifaceted, interdisciplinary effort to map the contours of America's opioid problems. Our goal is to chart a holistic understanding of the crisis and help inform and create policy solutions.
- How did the opioid crisis get to this point, and what could the future look like?
- Which major systems affect—and are affected by—the opioid crisis?
- How do these systems interact?
- How do the parts of each system affect individuals and families?
- What are the barriers and opportunities to positive change?
Mapping Underexplored Consequences
The uncharted territory of the opioid crisis is comprised of a series of deeply connected systems, including
- people who use opioids and their families
- specialty treatment system for opioid use disorders
- medical care
- criminal legal system
- illegal supply and supply control
- harm reduction and community-initiated interventions
- first responders
- child welfare
- income support and homeless services
There are countless ripple effects that occur within these systems, spurring new problems and complicating potential solutions to the opioid crisis.
That's why RAND researchers are adopting a holistic perspective, rather than the siloed approach that has allowed the opioid crisis to worsen.
Funding for This Project
Funding for the Opioids Uncharted project was provided by gifts from RAND supporters and income from operations. Philanthropic contributions support RAND’s ability to take the long view, tackle tough and often-controversial topics, and share our findings in innovative and compelling ways.