Drug policy research is a vibrant, interdisciplinary field with the potential to inform innovative new practices and policies. Nonetheless, despite a large number of researchers focused on drugs and people who use them, this research field faces significant constraints. Limitations include: 1) biases due in part to the current funding landscape; 2) systemic methodological weaknesses; 3) an over-emphasis on outcomes framed by an abstinence-only or prohibitionist framework; and 4) a lack of organizations or individuals communicating between the disparate disciplines involved in drug policy. In addition, researchers often do not have the skills, resources, or incentives needed to make their work accessible to broader audiences, such as the media, policymakers, and the public at large.
Attendees included 25 researchers in the field of drug policy research who reflected diverse disciplines, points in their career, institutional settings, methodological approaches, and content areas. Over the course of the day, attendees were encouraged to think of a visionary research agenda unbounded by funding and political concerns. This innovative research agenda, long with a summary of current constraints, and recommendations for transforming the field will be released soon as a white paper. For more information, contact Jules Netherland at [email protected].
View the article – Walker, I., & Netherland, J. (2018). Developing a Transformative Drug Policy Research Agenda in the United States. Contemporary Drug Problems.