Substance Use

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Substance use touches on many facets of public policy, including health and health care, economic issues, criminal justice, and risk behaviors—particularly among youth. Accordingly, RAND conducts drug policy research that addresses a range of concerns, from treatment effectiveness, harm reduction, drug markets and supply, and predictors and consequences to evaluations of programs to prevent youth from using and abusing drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.

  • Essay

    Therapeutic Use of Psychedelics in Treating PTSD and Depression Among Veterans

    Clinical trials have shown that psychedelics can have a positive effect on mental health conditions like PTSD or depression for some people. Enthusiasm for these treatments has grown among veterans and providers who work with military populations. The VA should invest in research and provide guidance on psychedelics.

    Nov 8, 2023

  • News Release

    Rise in Overdose Deaths Increasingly Affects Those with Lower Educational Attainment

    Drug overdose deaths increased sharply among Americans without a college education and nearly doubled over a three-year period among those who don't have a high school diploma. The findings further highlight a potential association between the rise in drug overdose deaths and barriers to education access, a social determinant of health.

    Oct 6, 2023

Explore Substance Use

  • Closeup of two people holding hands resting on a table, photo by PeopleImages/Getty Images

    News Release

    More Than 40 Percent of Americans Know Someone Who Died of Drug Overdose; 13 Percent Say Deaths Have Disrupted Their Lives

    More than 40 percent of Americans know someone who has died of a drug overdose and about one-third of those individuals say their lives were disrupted by the death.

    Feb 21, 2024

  • Data analysis concept with colored singular lines branching off larger and larger, image by NicoElNino/Getty Images

    Multimedia

    Charting Your Course: A Guide to Analyzing State Policy Studies

    This workshop provides an overview of analytic methods available for state policy evaluation studies, including details on key decision points for an analysis that helps identify which methods are most appropriate for different analytic contexts.

    Feb 5, 2024

  • A silhouetted man sits alone on the floor in a darkened hallway. Photo by yacobchuk, iStock/Getty Images Plus

    Research Brief

    Solving Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorder Treatment Bed Shortages: How Many Beds to Build and Where to Build Them

    RAND researchers developed a framework to measure behavioral health treatment bed shortages. They employed this approach in four California-based analyses, the findings of which determined how many beds to build and where to build them.

    Jan 29, 2024

  • Brochure

    Brochure

    Spotlight 2023–2024

    Spotlight 2023–2024 highlights some of the challenges that need urgent policy responses on issues such as AI and emerging tech to strategic trends for defence and security through to improving women's healthcare and tackling illegal drug markets.

    Jan 23, 2024

  • Packs of Marlboro cigarettes are displayed for sale at a convenience store in Somerville, Massachusetts, July 17, 2014, photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

    Journal Article

    Doing More with Less: A Proposal to Advance Cigarette Packaging Regulations in the United States

    This commentary works through some of the conceptual, practical, and legal issues regarding cigarette packaging regulations in the United States.

    Jan 11, 2024

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Counseling Co-Requirement Laws for Office-Based Buprenorphine Treatment

    Panels of experts rated how they expect a policy requiring counseling with buprenorphine treatment to affect four outcomes and rated this policy on four implementation criteria.

    Dec 21, 2023

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Drug Toxicology Testing Requirements

    Panels of experts rated how they expect a policy mandating drug testing for opioid use disorder treatment planning to affect four outcomes and rated this policy on four implementation criteria.

    Dec 21, 2023

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Full State Scope-of-Practice Laws

    Panels of experts rated how they expect scope-of-practice laws allowing advanced-practice providers to prescribe medication for opioid use disorder independently to affect four outcomes and rated this policy on four implementation criteria.

    Dec 21, 2023

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Hub-and-Spoke Type Policies

    Panels of experts rated how they expect hub-and-spoke type policies to affect four outcomes and rated these policies on four implementation criteria.

    Dec 21, 2023

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Length of Time That Medicaid Covers Medication for Opioid Use Disorder

    Panels of experts rated how they expect a policy requiring state-level Medicaid to cover medication for opioid use disorder for at least six months to affect four outcomes and rated this policy on four implementation criteria.

    Dec 21, 2023

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Pay-for-Performance Policies

    Panels of experts rated how they expect a policy mandating additional payments to providers for improved quality and value of opioid use disorder treatment to affect four outcomes and rated this policy on four implementation criteria.

    Dec 21, 2023

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    State Mandates for Opioid Use Disorder Drug Formularies

    Panels of experts rated how they expect a policy mandating at least two medications for opioid use disorder to be on preferred drug lists for drug formularies to affect four outcomes and rated this policy on four implementation criteria.

    Dec 21, 2023

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Coerced Drug Treatment Policies

    Panels of experts rated how they expect a policy legally compelling individuals to participate in opioid use disorder treatment to affect four outcomes and rated this policy on four implementation criteria.

    Dec 20, 2023

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Emergency Department Treatment-Linkage Financial Incentive Policies

    Panels of experts rated how they expect a policy financially incentivizing emergency departments to follow a specific process for patients diagnosed with opioid use disorder to affect four outcomes and rated this policy on four implementation criteria.

    Dec 20, 2023

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Facilitated Access to Medication for Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) Requirements

    Panels of experts rated how they expect a policy requiring state substance use disorder programs to offer accessible medication for opioid use disorder to affect four outcomes and rated this policy on four implementation criteria.

    Dec 20, 2023

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Involuntary Civil Commitment Laws

    Panels of experts rated how they expect a policy establishing involuntary civil commitment laws to affect four outcomes and rated this policy on four implementation criteria.

    Dec 20, 2023

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Medicaid Enrollment for Individuals Leaving Jail or Prison

    Panels of experts rated how they expect a policy requiring Medicaid enrollment assistance for people leaving jail to affect four outcomes and rated this policy on four implementation criteria.

    Dec 20, 2023

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    State Medicaid Agency Approval of Collaborative Care Model Reimbursement Codes

    Panels of experts rated how they expect a policy directing state Medicaid approval of reimbursement codes for time spent on collaborative care to affect four outcomes and rated this policy on four implementation criteria.

    Dec 20, 2023

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Telemedicine-Based Collaborative Care Policies

    Panels of experts rated how they expect policies directing funding for on-site and off-site collaborative care models for treating opioid use disorder to affect four outcomes and rated this policy on four implementation criteria.

    Dec 20, 2023

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Insurance Coverage for Naloxone

    Panels of experts rated how they expect a policy requiring health insurance plans to cover opioid overdose treatment to affect four outcomes and rated this policy on four implementation criteria.

    Dec 19, 2023