How will today’s research inform tomorrow’s policies?

In a world saturated with data, sometimes what is needed is not more information but greater perspective. BOTEC Analysis blends policy innovations with evidence-based practices grounded in decades of academic and practical experience to help national, state and municipal regulators turn data into the insights needed to deliver solutions in the public interest.

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Cannabis

Emerging cannabis markets around the world present opportunities for economic development and revenue, but also create potential threats to public health and safety. BOTEC works with governments to anticipate market conditions, shape regulations on production, sale, taxation, and consumption, and evaluate the effects of existing policies.

Nicotine

Governments worldwide have joined the fight to end cigarette smoking, but their efforts have sometimes yielded unintended consequences. Illicit trade in tobacco products is a serious and costly global problem that robs governments of revenue and strips regulators of the power to affect consumer behavior. Meanwhile, the risks and possibilities of alternatives to cigarettes are poorly understood. BOTEC uses a harm reduction lens to help governments understand how they can best serve their citizens.

Opioids

For over a decade, an epidemic of opioid misuse has ravaged the United States. In its wake, rates of misuse of stimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine have also risen. BOTEC has studied the behavior of drug users and the characteristics of illicit opioid and stimulant markets for over thirty years. We advise government agencies such as the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program on high-level strategy. We also design and evaluate program-level responses to specific substance misuse problems faced by practitioners.

Reentry services

The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, and most of the prison population is managed at the state level. Governments conscious of both fairness and cost-effectiveness have begun to build their capacities to safely transition incarcerated citizens back to communities. For reentry to be successful, returning citizens must be well-equipped to meet the challenges they will face in securing housing, employment, and personal development, all while meeting the conditions of their release. BOTEC works with governments to design pre-trail supervision, probation, and parole programs that work for both clients and supervision agents. We provide the training and technical assistance (TTA) and research partnership that help agencies not only develop programs that succeed, but also ground those programs in evidence so that the lessons learned can be shared.

Corrections management

State corrections facilities are fertile environments for testing policies that make human lives safer and more worthwhile. Yet, the agencies that manage those facilities are often too occupied by immediate practical concerns to implement dynamic changes, conduct empirical experiments, and offer analysis. BOTEC helps agencies identify problems in offender management and develop solutions rooted in evidence.

Equity

Governments and corporations are increasingly concerned that their policies have effects that do not unfairly benefit or burden certain groups at the expense of the whole. BOTEC helps agencies and corporations see equity problems caused by their current policies and develop new policies that avoid those problems. 

Transport

Access to affordable transportation options is an important social justice issue, and reducing carbon-intensive personal vehicle use is an ecological imperative. The emergence of app-based ride-share technologies and peer-to-peer car-sharing models have disrupted public transport and the automotive industry. But minority riders and those with disabilities are often discriminated against and under-served. BOTEC works directly with these firms to evaluate the performance of their services on key metrics to ensure that opportunities for discrimination within the system are eliminated.

Environment

New products and services created by emerging industries such as app-based ride-share technologies or regulated cannabis create environmental costs. Regulators need to understand these costs as well as any opportunities for ecological harm mitigation that innovation presents. With this understanding, regulators can develop policy frameworks that minimize risks while maximizing benefits. BOTEC works with both regulators and corporations to measure environmental impacts, measuring inflows and outflows under different scenarios. This information can then inform a discussion about alternatives, mitigation, optimal regulation and commercial procedures.

Our Services

Market Design

As governments around the world change their attitudes toward potentially problematic commodities, they seek to shape markets for these commodities to capture economic benefits while minimizing risk to public health and safety. BOTEC helps partners identify their priorities and develop policies to advance them.

Regulatory Consulting

Many governments have initiated unprecedented regulatory changes without the benefit of prior experience or the opportunity to experiment. Working across state and national boundaries to assist a range of government agencies at all levels of jurisdiction, BOTEC synthesizes lessons learned by regulators around the world to help partners understand the features and flaws of their current policies.

Market Analysis

To effectively regulate markets, governments must first understand the scope and characteristics of those markets. BOTEC helps partners predict supply and demand for commodities under current and proposed regulations, creates models for understanding the effects of regulatory action on market behavior and revenue, and identifies problems of use and abuse.

Program Evaluation

When government agencies identify problems, they often create programs to try to solve them, but they also often lack the capacity to empirically evaluate whether or not the solutions worked. Policy solutions can originate at all levels of government, from line practitioners to agency executives. BOTEC works with partners to identify promising solutions and frame empirical experiments to test them.

Data Analysis/Management

Governments collect and possess a tremendous amount of data but often fail to get the most out of what they have. Inadequate collection, storage, and sharing of data contribute to this problem. BOTEC helps partners understand what their data sources are and what can be learned from them, creating custom databases and data visualization tools to make the benefits of data analysis accessible to practitioners at every level of responsibility.

Featured Work

MMCC

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC), created by legislative action in 2014, works to develop policies to ensure that medical cannabis is safely and effectively provided to qualifying patients. They issue licenses to growers and sellers, oversee product testing, and provide a range of other services and information to citizens. As the primary regulator of cannabis in Maryland, they’re also deeply interested in the impacts of cannabis on the state. That’s why, in 2020, MMCC asked BOTEC to help them plan for the future.

As governments across the country rush to legalize cannabis for adult use, those states that are still deciding what course to take have begun to realize that valuable knowledge can be gained from the successes and failures of the past decade. BOTEC and its network of contributors have been with state regulators from the very start. MMCC, like many of our clients, is particularly concerned with the public health and safety impacts of broadening cannabis availability. They also have a mandate to ensure the patients in their current medical system aren’t harmed by legalization. BOTEC is proud to work with MMCC to serve the citizens of Maryland. (Report forthcoming)

NJSPB

Like much of the country, New Jersey has spent the past ten years fighting opioid abuse. A public health and safety crisis of extreme proportions, the opioid epidemic has ravaged
suburban and rural America in a way few could have foreseen. But this isn’t the first time the United States has faced a deadly drug epidemic, nor is it the first time opioids have torn at the most vulnerable parts of society. BOTEC has weathered every wave of substance misuse in the last four decades alongside government officials, from the crack epidemic to the heroin epidemic, from methamphetamines in the early 2000s to the resurgence of cocaine.

The opioid epidemic has preyed on a particularly defenseless population: those citizens
returning to their communities from prison. Often with few resources and little access to
treatment, these individuals fell victim to problem opioid use in alarming numbers. The New Jersey State Parole Board (SPB) realized that business-as-usual wasn’t doing enough. In response, they created a novel supervision program tailored to the needs of clients particularly susceptible to opioids. Since 2018, SPB has worked with BOTEC to refine and evaluate the program, overhauling data collection practices and partnering with community-based treatment providers to create a support network for client success. (Report forthcoming)

Foundation for a Smoke-Free World

In August 2019, BOTEC was selected by The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World to conduct an interdisciplinary investigation into the drivers of smoking in Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea and the UK. Over the next twelve months BOTEC researchers in five countries drew on econometric, statistical, policy analytic, medical, psychological and sociological investigative methodologies to produced case studies exploring how macro-, meso-, micro- and individual-level factors have contributed to smoking cessation. The role of Alternative Nicotine Delivery Systems (ANDS) in driving cessation is a central part of this research and we explore how the use of those products and the use of other tobacco products interact in a range of regulatory conditions. A final forthcoming report synthesizes findings from the five national case studies, and provides recommendations for policymakers around the world looking to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with tobacco smoking.

Where We've Worked

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