Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Joseph Bessette

Rights Information

William C. Newman


The opioid crisis has reached unprecedented levels with the rise in deaths rising fivefold from 2001. The crisis’ has effected many communities throughout the United States and requires deep intervention in order to minimize the number of individuals dying from opioids. The heart of the problem lies in prescription opioids and heroin, one cannot talk about prescription opioids without speaking of the dangers of heroin. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the results of state and federal policies in handling the epidemic and recognizing the need for a comprehensive, multi-tiered strategy for grappling with the crisis. This paper was divided into four sections: The Nature of the Problem, Education, Supply Reduction and Treatment of Addicts and Death Prevention. The results were compiled by analyzing government statistics and peer-reviewed journals for solutions to the larger questions of how did the epidemic start, what methods can minimize illicit drug use and how do we restrict the supply of prescription opioids and heroin effectively while creating accessible treatment for individuals suffering from pain and/or addiction? The results concluded that creating educational programs based around the dangers of opioids and treatment options, while not definitive, can reduce the number of individuals suffering from addiction by allowing them to abstain from illicit drug use. This requires an immense number of state and federal resources to be dedicated to the epidemic, but considering that thousands are dying from it every year, there needs to considerable funding, energy and effort expended on grappling with the crisis.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.