One of the United States’ top think tanks has opened a new research center devoted to identifying new ways for combating the nation’s opioid crisis. The site, which has been established at the RAND Corporation, is supported by a $7.2 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a department of the National Institutes of Health.

According to scientists at the nonprofit research organization, the RAND Opioid Policy Tools and Information Center (OPTIC) will be developing new methods for assessing the public health impact of opioid policies such as syringe exchanges, addiction treatment centers and mobile clinics. Researchers will also seek to understand why some opioid policies work better than others in certain communities.

This is the latest in RAND’s significant efforts at studying the opioid epidemic. Prior work by RAND scientists showed that the reformulation of the prescription opioid OxyContin was a major driver of the 2010 increase in heroin use and the subsequent rise in the spread of hepatitis C virus (HCV).

The center, to be led by a senior economist and a senior statistician, will create a simulation tool to identify the most effective addiction policies at the nonprofit, which is the nation’s largest independent health policy research program.