New RAND Research: America’s Opioid Ecosystem

Opioid use disorder (OUD) continues to be a persistent and growing problem in the United States. The RAND Corporation has released an in-depth report on the complexities of this problem. Its approach aims to address issues found in ten major areas of what the researchers are calling the opioid ecosystem: “substance use disorder treatment, harm reduction, medical care, the criminal legal system, illegal supply and supply control, first responders, the child welfare system, income support and homeless services, employment, and education.”

A big part of the research focuses on understanding OUD from the viewpoint of users by looking at the characteristics of those with OUD, and trying to understand what steps could be taken to improve their quality of life. It attempts to find the interconnectedness of the opioid ecosystem by looking at how components interact with each other and by asking, “How can one component have a major impact on opioid-related outcomes in other components?”

Read the full report to discover the researchers’ key findings and recommendations for policymakers and foundations “looking for opportunities to create change that have often been overlooked.”

For more information on topics related to this piece, visit the HSDL In-Focus on Fentanyl and Opioids.

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