#26 - Synthetic Opioids

The US opioid crisis is a result of a fractured and fragmented healthcare service. Federal and state policy created a system whereby doctors were rewarded for prescribing highly addictive substances. This epidemic was compounded when the same federal and state government suddenly restrained these prescriptions, forcing people into the black market. Now underground drug dealers control this oversaturated demand, from Mexican smugglers to Chinese clandestine chemists…the harms of opiates are rising every day.

Bryce Pardo is an associate policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. His work focuses on drug policy with a particular interest in the areas of cannabis regulation, opioid control, and new psychoactive substance markets. Recently, he has provided Congressional testimony about his research on illicit supply of fentanyl to several subcommittees within the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to joining RAND, he served five years as a legislative and policy analyst at the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) within the Organization of American States (OAS) where he worked directly with policymakers and practitioners. He has independently consulted with multi-lateral institutions, including the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Pardo also served as lead analyst with BOTEC Analysis Corporation to support the Government of Jamaica in drafting medical cannabis regulations.

The Future of Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids

RAND Corporation

RAND Drug Policy Research Centre




2010 additive added to prescription opiates so they couldn’t be crushed or snorted

Golden triangle





Heroin Assisted Treatment

Supervised consumption facility



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