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

Photo credits from left to right: Bits and Splits/Adobe Stock, underworld/Adobe Stock, Leonid/Adobe Stock, and EasyAsa/Getty Images

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

  • Cannabis store sign on the street, photo by GoodLifeStudio/Getty Images

    Cannabis Legalization in Europe: Planning Ahead

    Since 2012, multiple jurisdictions have changed their laws to legalize the production, possession, and use of cannabis for nonmedical purposes. While most of these changes took place in the Americas, there are signs that the European legal landscape might be changing, too.

  • A worker waters marijuana plants for the adult recreational market nside a greenhouse at Hepworth Farms in Milton, New York, July 15, 2022, photo by Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

    What's Next After Biden's Announcement on Cannabis and Racial Equity?

    Cannabis legalization isn't just a yes-or-no choice. There are many ways for state and federal policymakers to shape the market and tax it. With deliberations in Washington, D.C., beginning and more states set to vote on the issue in November, now is the time for lawmakers to take stock of how potential changes will or won't help communities of color.

  • People walk around the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California, April 1, 2020, photo by Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

    What Chesa Boudin's Replacement Can Do About Open-Air Drug Dealing

    Successfully addressing open-air drug dealing in San Francisco will likely require transparency about consequences that drug dealers face; a rethinking of how such crimes are sanctioned; and collaboration between prosecutors, police, and the community.

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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.