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Despite its strengths, drug policy scholarship in the United States has deficiencies and systemic biases that contribute to misinformation about drugs and people who use drugs. Factors ranging from funders’ biases to an overemphasis on abstinence-only outcomes limit the scope and focus of drug policy research. These deficiencies and the highly politicized nature of drug policy reform have led U.S. decision-makers to largely reproduce the uninformed thinking that epitomizes failed drug policies. In an effort to address some of these limitations, we designed Unbounded Knowledge: Envisioning a New Future for Drug Policy Research, a project to engage researchers in thinking about how U.S. drug policy research should be transformed. The project involved a diverse group of multidisciplinary drug researchers and clinicians in a focused collaboration to identify what drug research should be—but is not—studying in the U.S. It consisted of: (1) a preliminary series of interviews with researchers, (2) identification of common research constraints and factors that would transform the direction of drug policy research in the U.S., and (3) a daylong workshop to craft an aspirational research agenda. Participants were broadly in consensus that significant changes are needed to create different ways to conduct drug policy research and new opportunities within the research environment. They also generated specific ideas for research that could better shape U.S. drug policies in ways that move beyond the dominant focus on criminalization and medicalization. This article offers recommendations generated by the project for improving drug policy research in the U.S. © The Author(s) 2018.

Publication Title

Contemporary Drug Problems



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pre print, post print (12 month embargo)

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