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Conference: New Directions: A Public Health and Safety Approach to Drug Policy, June 17, Capitol Hill, DC (DRCNet) is pleased to be a Partner in the free upcoming conference, "New Directions: A Public Health and Safety Approach to Drug Policy." New Directions DC will be the first-ever full day conference on drug policy reform on Capitol Hill. Join us to reframe the drug policy debate in the United States to focus on a public health, rather than a criminal justice, approach.

When asked about the war on drugs on the campaign trail President Obama said, "I believe in shifting the paradigm, shifting the model, so that we focus more on a public-health approach [to drugs]." Polls show the American people agree. But what exactly is a public health approach to drugs? By bringing together a broad spectrum of organizations to examine the four pillars of any successful drug strategy -- Prevention, Treatment, Policing, and Harm Reduction -- the one-day New Directions conference seeks to answer that question.

Conference Objectives:

  • Clarifying the role of national government in determining drug policy;
  • Brainstorming new approaches to difficult policy and implementation problems;
  • Fostering connections among groups that have not traditionally worked together, but should;
  • Developing a shared course of action to build evidence-based policies and strategies; and
  • Identifying where further research is needed.


  • 8:45-9:15 -- Registration and Breakfast
  • 9:15-9:30 -- Opening and Welcoming Remarks
  • 9:35-10:50 -- Panel: The War at Home
  • 11:00-12:15 -- Panel: Treating Drug Use as a Health Issue
  • 12:15-1:00 -- Lunch and Speaker
  • 1:00-2:15 -- Panel: Reducing Crime and Incarceration
  • 2:25-3:40 -- Panel: Protecting Treatment from the Criminal Justice System
  • 3:45-5:00 -- Roundtable: A New Bottom Line in US Drug Policy

Partial Speaker List:

  • Lynn M. Paltrow, JD, Founder and Executive Director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women
  • Deborah Peterson Small, Executive Director and founder of Break the Chains
  • P. David Soares, JD, Albany County District Attorney
  • Kash Heed, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Vancouver-Fraserview and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General
  • Thomas Zeltner, MD former Secretary of Health for Switzerland and Director-General of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) of Switzerland

New Directions is presented by the Drug Policy Alliance, the National Association of Social Workers, the National Black Police Association, and Physicians for Human Rights, and takes place June 17, 8:30am-5:00pm, in the Rayburn House Office Building, Room B338, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Please RSVP to [email protected].

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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