RAND Drug Policy Research Center

Addressing today’s most pressing substance use issues. Informing the drug policy of the future.

Opioids, cannabis, injectables and alcohol drug concept collage

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Substance use and efforts to influence it are the subject of serious policy debates around the world.

For more than 30 years, the RAND Drug Policy Research Center has conducted research to help decisionmakers in the United States and abroad address issues involving alcohol and other drugs. In doing so, the Center brings an objective and data-driven perspective to this often emotional and fractious policy arena.

Our team of experts includes those from many fields such as medicine, statistics, economics, psychology, sociology, law, criminal justice, decision science, and public policy. We are all committed to improving the health, social, and economic well-being of populations and communities throughout the world.

Research Highlights

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Recent Commentaries

  • The Out of Harm's Reach organization distributes free kits containing fentanyl test strips and NARCAN nasal spray to attendees of FEST 19 in Gainesville, Florida, October 29, 2021, photo by Julia Cooper/Reuters

    Fentanyl Makes an Already Dangerous Drug Market Deadlier Than Ever

    Failure to recognize and respond to how rapidly illegal drug markets have changed with the arrival of illegally manufactured synthetic opioids will continue to put many Americans at risk of exposure to fentanyl, endangering the lives of hundreds of thousands more for years to come.

  • Boxes of naloxone spray and fentanyl test strips in a container at The Legionnaire bar in Oakland, California, March 3, 2022, photo by Nathan Frandino/Reuters

    A Greater Focus On Harm Reduction Will Save Lives

    For decades, elected officials brushed off harm reduction as a viable option for reducing the harms of drug use over concerns of enabling drug consumption. But now, these strategies are front and center, spoken aloud, from the largest podium in the land, and during prime time. What caused this historic about-face?

  • Tablets and powder under a magnifying glass, photo by Andrey Bukreev/Getty Images

    A New and More Dangerous Drug Market Requires a New Approach

    Synthetic opioids are likely to increasingly reach illegal drug markets. Failure to recognize and respond to how rapidly drug markets have changed with the arrival of illegally manufactured synthetic opioids will continue to put many at risk of exposure to fentanyl, endangering the lives of hundreds of thousands more Americans for years to come.

Explore all Drug Policy and Trends Commentaries See more

RAND DPRC Research Making an Impact

The RAND Drug Policy Research Center was created to take a comprehensive look at big-picture issues involving drug policies to examine how they evolved and provide insight on how they might change in the future. Our research efforts to improve alcohol and other drug policies around the world have led to a number of salient accomplishments.

  • Plastic bags of Fentanyl are displayed on a table at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection area at the International Mail Facility at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, November 29, 2017

    Evolution of the U.S. Overdose Crisis

    Bryce Pardo testified before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations on the role of synthetic opioids in the U.S. overdose crisis.

  • Large indoor marijuana legal recreational commercial growing operation

    Cannabis Legalization in Canada

    Beau Kilmer provided testimony to the Canadian legislature on different alternatives to prohibition, including considerations for prices, taxes, and international implications.