The United States has relied on state legislation as a primary tool to address the rising health toll of opioid misuse. Interventions including prescription drug monitoring systems, third-party naloxone administration laws and Good Samaritan 911 provisions are a key elements of a comprehensive response. Evaluating these interventions to see what laws, and specific elements of laws, make a difference, is crucial ? but difficult. Legal Science, LLC (LS) plays a unique role in supporting better tracking and evaluation of law. The company is founded on the principles of Policy Surveillance ? the systematic, scientific tracking of laws of public health significance. In March of 2016, LS launched the MonQcle, a SaaS software platform that allows 1) building empirical policy data with scientific codebooks and protocols; 2) storing of these data in a redundant, scalable database; and 3) publishing via an integrated CMS with maps, tables and data visualization tools. For Phase II, we propose to significantly expand the MonQcle to include a Health Outcome Policy Evaluation (HOPE) laboratory. The MonQcle powers the Prescription Drug Abuse Policy System (PDAPS) and the Drug Abuse Policy System (DAPS), launching early, 2017. We propose a new policy analysis paradigm to streamline and accelerate the assessment of policy impact. We will use human-centered design principles to design the dashboard. Using the application programming interface (API) we will include the storage and retrieval of drug related outcome data, including import, export, computational and visual design and display features. We will integrate a suite of publically available longitudinal outcomes data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and CDC?s WONDER with the existing drug policy data including pdmp?s, naloxone, Good Samaritan, methadone-assisted treatment, drugged driving and medical and recreational marijuana laws. In partnership with researchers from Battelle Memorial Institute?s (Battelle) LS will extend the Phase I Daps to include a generic HOPE architecture and subsequently deploy a unique substance use specific policy lab called DOPE ? Drug Outcome Policy Evaluation. DOPE will be a researcher friendly, extension of Daps that facilitates overlay of health outcome data on state policy data, as well as integrated computational functionality in R to rank policies or policy features across states and measure their effects on population health. Collaborators from Battelle?s Advanced Analytics and Health Research (AAHR) team will assess the impact of key state legal interventions on reducing the opiate epidemic. Using DOPE, the team will examine a set of research questions including but not limited to: 1) When policies for Naloxone access, Good Samaritan protections, PDMP, medication assisted treatment with methadone and/or drugged driving are in place, does it decrease the rate of drug-related deaths (all drugs)? 2) Do policies related to legalizing marijuana (for recreation or medical purposes) show a change in marijuana use and risk perception Finally, 3) what suite of policies yields the greatest reduction in the rate of drug-related deaths? Lastly, together the teams will address a suite of research questions about the functionality, efficiency, feasibility of DOPE.
The proposed Drug Outcome Policy Evaluation laboratory (DOPE) will allow analysts and legislators to assess the legal landscape and estimate which laws and features of those laws are most instrumental in helping to reduce and reverse the effects of drug misuse and abuse on the health of millions of Americans.