Newswise — RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC – RTI International has named renowned expert in behavioral health economics, Gary Zarkin, Ph.D., an RTI Distinguished Fellow. The appointment of Distinguished Fellow, the highest level in RTI's Fellow Program, honors exceptionally talented individuals whose internationally recognized scientific accomplishments have made a significant impact on society.

Zarkin has led or participated in many projects involving economic analysis of drug treatment, prevention, and studies of workplace substance abuse. Zarkin currently leads the Analytical Support Contract for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and is estimating the cost and cost-effectiveness of interventions on several projects funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

As a Distinguished Fellow, he will draw on his scientific contributions to the economics of substance use disorder research and expand RTI’s work in this area.

"Gary’s depth of knowledge in substance use disorders is extremely valuable in the current climate of rising opioid use and the need for research to help decision-makers craft policy to curb usage and deaths,” said Amy Roussel, Ph.D., senior vice president for social policy, health, and economic research at RTI. “He contributes invaluable expertise in effectively treating individuals with substance use disorders and behavioral health challenges, and maximizes the impact of our research.”

Zarkin has published more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters throughout his career on topics ranging from economics, substance abuse and health services. He is a contributing author of “Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health.”

Zarkin was previously the vice president of the behavioral health and criminal justice research division. Prior to joining RTI, Zarkin was an assistant professor of economics at Duke University. He has a doctoral degree and a master’s degree both in economics from the University of Chicago, and a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Washington.