Policy & Information Briefs

The Expansion of Legalized Marijuana

This Policy Brief examines the continued expansion of legalized access to marijuana and changes in public opinion in favor of marijuana liberalization. The brief posits that, in light of this extraordinary movement, government at all levels must turn its attention to being proactive rather than reactive by adopting a systems approach to regulating this new industry and designing programs and policies that protect the public health and safety. This brief presents a number of questions that researchers should seek to answer as part of a national research agenda to close the “knowledge gap” between the pace that legalization is occurring and the extent of available knowledge on its potential effects on drug use, public health, and public safety. 

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Coca Cultivation Makes a Comeback in Colombia

This Policy Brief presents data from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) demonstrating increased coca cultivation in Colombia. The brief questions whether the United States is the target for this new coca, but notes that our diminished ability to detect emerging drug trends renders this an unanswerable question. Ultimately, the brief seeks to raise public awareness of the Colombian cultivation and offers suggestions for improving the detection of emerging drug trends, particularly with respect to cocaine. The brief presents "obvious" next steps -- (1) Funding the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) Program, (2) Restoring ONDCP's Research Funding, and (3) Dedicating Funds for Quest Diagnostic Workplace Drug Testing Data-- as well as more controversial next steps. 

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The Affordable Care Act: Opportunities & Challenges for Behavioral Health Providers

This Information Brief examines the opportunities and challenges for behavioral health providers under the Affordable Care Act (the ACA). With a particular focus on substance abuse, this brief considers three challenges: (1) The ACA Coverage Gap, (2) Providers' Lack of ACA Knowledge and Strategic Plans, and (3) The Need for Client Outreach & Enrollment. The brief offers solutions to providers' practical problems and calls attention to policy issues that require additional consideration or research.    

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The Affordable Care Act: Shaping Substance Abuse Treatment

This Information Brief examines the Affordable Care Act (the ACA)-- also known as health care reform or "ObamaCare"-- and its potential impact on substance abuse treatment.  In particular, this brief considers the impact of the ACA's Medicaid expansion, Affordable Insurance Exchanges, and Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) on the healthcare market, anticipating the law's effects on the financing and provision of substance abuse treatment.   The brief predicts that the influx of 27 newly insured individuals coupled with EHB and parity requirements will yield a considerable number of new substance abuse clients and trigger a notable shift in payers.  These events, in turn, will drive further changes for both substance abuse treatment providers and clients, as the field moves toward new financial systems that emphasize integrated payment models.    

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Prescription Drug Takeback Programs & Substance Abuse Policy

This Policy Brief examines prescription drug takeback programs in the context of substance abuse prevention.  Across America, drug takeback programs have become increasingly popular as policymakers struggle to provide individuals with a secure and convenient way to dispose of unused medications.  To learn more about takeback programs, Carnevale Associates, LLC surveyed a number of programs to better understand their design, costs, and efficacy to support national efforts to reduce the size and scope of the prescription drug epidemic.  Our analysis found that these programs vary substantially in cost and approach.   In addition, we found no evidence that takeback programs affect prescription drug abuse.  We conclude that additional research is needed before incorporating takebacks into any substance abuse prevention plan.

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