The rise of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids is unlike any drug crisis in U.S. history. Limiting policy responses to existing approaches will likely be insufficient and may condemn many people to early deaths.
America's fentanyl crisis is unlike previous drug epidemics and is likely to get worse. Deaths involving it and other synthetic opioids have surged from around 3,000 in 2013 to more than 30,000 in 2018. Solving the problem requires innovative approaches and unprecedented resources.
This study sheds light on the distribution of buprenorphine-waivered prescribers over the past decade. Growth has been rapid in communities affected by the opioid crisis, but slower in rural communities, and those with lower levels of education.
Feature stories spotlight research on America's fentanyl crisis and new approaches to clinical guideline development. The Commentary column features terrorism expert Colin Clarke on the threat of white supremacists in the United States.
A global settlement with pharmaceutical companies has started to appear more and more likely. Even with billions of dollars, the settlement resources won't be unlimited. To avoid mistakes made in the tobacco master settlement agreement, any opioid funds must be carefully allocated.
Policymakers should think of the opioid crisis as an ecosystem and consider how its many parts interact—especially in unexpected ways. A broader view of the crisis will help those confronting it better prepare for the challenges ahead.
In 1989, RAND founded a new Drug Policy Research Center to provide rigorous, nonpartisan research to inform the debate on how to best address America's drug problem. Thirty years later, the center continues to do what it was created to do: improve the understanding of substance use and assess the consequences of an expanding range of drug policies.
Opioids are powerful medicine for pain management. But many factors, including over-prescribing, misuse, and addiction, have led to a national health crisis. As policymakers and affected members of the public look for solutions, RAND Health Care examines potential policies and interventions to address both the causes and effects of the opioid crisis.
We conducted a scoping study to identify data sources and linking strategies commonly used in opioid studies, describe data source strengths and limitations, and highlight opportunities to use data to address public health research questions.
Evidence suggests that once a synthetic opioid like fentanyl becomes dominant in a drug market, it stays that way. With that in mind, the United States should prepare for these drugs as a lasting phenomenon.