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McDonald, Ph.D.

Principal Associate, Health & Environment

Douglas McDonald specializes in research and evaluation of criminal justice policies and institutions, healthcare, and drug use and control. A veteran of Abt Associates for more than 25 years, McDonald’s research often combines qualitative studies of institutional processes, quantitative analyses of large data sets, and cost analyses.
McDonald’s recent work is focused on understanding prescription drug abuse and efforts to prevent it. This has included epidemiological analyses of the nature and extent of misuse, as well as evaluations of programs aiming to control prescribing and dispensing practices of dangerous prescription drugs such as opioid painkillers, sedatives, and stimulants used for treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He has also conducted studies of criminal sentencing, prison healthcare systems, probation, parole and pretrial organizations, prison privatization, and evaluations of bioterror response plans, among other topics. 


  • Prescription and illicit drug use and abuse
  • Criminal justice institutions, policies and practices
  • Criminal sentencing

Selected Projects

  • Supporting Development of CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, CDC
  • Implementing Electronic Clinical Decision Supports for Opioid in Primary Care Settings, CDC
  • Building Evidence on Employment Strategies for Low-Income Persons with Behavioral Health Conditions, Administration for Children and Families
  • Development and Evaluation of a Technical Package on Coordinated Care for Chronic Opioid Therapy, CDC
  • Medicare Part D Opioid Policy Impact Evaluation, CMS
  • Field Experiment to Estimate Effectiveness of Proactive Reporting by Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, CDC  
  • Examination of Criminal Defendants’ Pretrial Failure in the District of Columbia, Pretrial Services Agency of the District of Columbia

Selected Publications

Douglas McDonald