In September 1989, amid an emotional and ideological debate regarding problematic drug use in the United States and the ‘war on drugs’, RAND's Drug Policy Research Center (DPRC) was created through private foundation funds. The purpose of this new research center was to provide objective empirical analysis on which to base sound drug policy. Twenty years later, RAND's DPRC continues its work, drawing on a broad range of analytical expertise to evaluate, compare and assess the effectiveness of a similarly broad range of drug policies. More than 60 affiliated researchers in the United States and Europe make up the Center, which attempts to provide objective empirical analyses to better inform drug policies within the United States and abroad. This paper provides a look back at the creation, evolution and growth of the Center. It then describes how the Center operates today and how it has maintained its clear identity and focus by drawing on the analytical capabilities of a talented group of researchers from a broad range of academic disciplines.