Just Solving the Opioid Crisis

In episode Nine of our Drugs Season, Just Science discusses the Opioid Epidemic with RTI International’s Dr. Gary Zarkin and Dr. Jeri Ropero-Miller. Solving the United State’s Opioid Epidemic that’s riddled with unknowns and inconsistencies starts with a holistic understanding of the pervading issues. It’s not just the prevention and treatment associated with novel psychoactive substances, but surveillance, drug chemistry identification, legislative and policy reform, and influential stakeholders acting in a concerted effort that will turn the tide of the nation’s most devastating drug war front. Follow along with Just Science as we discuss the opioid epidemic, from its history and origins, to modern day strategies for prevention and treatment that capitalize on the use of existing data and policies to help home in on a national solution.

This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].

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Gary A. Zarkin, PhD, is a Distinguished Fellow in the Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice Research Division. He has led or participated in many projects involving the economic analysis of drug treatment, prevention, and studies of workplace substance abuse. Dr. Zarkin has published extensively on the cost, cost-effectiveness, and the benefit-cost of substance abuse interventions.

He currently leads the Analytical Support Contract for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and is estimating the cost and cost-effectiveness of interventions on several projects funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. He previously led the development of a method to estimate the cost of services (the Substance Abuse Services Cost Analysis Program [SASCAP]) for methadone treatment, a therapy for opioid dependence.

Before coming to RTI, Dr. Zarkin was an assistant professor of economics at Duke University and a research associate professor at Duke University’s Institute of Statistics and Decision Sciences. He has published on economics, substance abuse, and health service topics in a wide range of professional journals.

 

Dr. Jeri Ropero-Miller is a Principal Investigator (PI) and Senior Research Forensic Scientist for RTI International’s Center for Forensic Sciences. She is a Board-certified Forensic Toxicologist with Diplomate status on the American Board of Forensic Toxicology (F-ABFT). She has more than 20 years of experience conducting research, training, technology transfer, and evaluations in forensic science and criminal justice.

Her current projects include the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE, for the National Institute of Justice, NIJ), the National Laboratory Certification Program (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, SAMHSA), and the National Forensic Laboratory Information System (Drug Enforcement Administration, DEA). Dr. Ropero-Miller has supported other projects, including the Census for Medical Examiner and Coroner Offices (for the Bureau of Justice Statistics), the 2007 Survey of Law Enforcement Forensic Evidence Processing (NIJ), the Technology Transfer Strategies of Forensic Science Research and Development (R&D) to the Practitioner End-User (NIJ), and several web-based continuing education and forensic training programs that offer low- or no-cost training to forensic scientists and ancillary professionals (NIJ, Office for Victims of Crime, OVC). Her work has been extensively published in the areas of clinical and forensic toxicology, including a Chapter in the 2012 Forensic Science: Current Issues, Future Directions.

Prior to her tenure with RTI, she served as the Deputy Chief Toxicologist at the State of North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. She is currently on the Board of Directors for the the Forensic Sciences Foundation of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) and the ABFT, and is the Executive Secretary for the Scientific Area Committee of Chemistry/ Instrumental Analysis (National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST).

 


Additional Resources:

OPIOID CRISIS – A PUBLIC HEALTH ENEMY WEBINAR SERIES

RELATED JUST SCIENCE EPISODES 

Drugs: Just Drug Courts

Drugs: Just Field Identification Drug Officer 

Drugs: Just the State of Pathology

REPORTS OF ADVERSE EVENTS ASSOCIATED WITH USE OF NOVEL PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCES, 2013–2016: A REVIEW

TECHBEAT ARTICLE: FTCOE OPIOID WEBINAR SERIES SHARES KNOWLEDGE, PROMOTES COLLABORATION