Amanda Bent, Policy Associate, New Jersey
As New Jersey Policy Associate, Amanda Bent works to reform the state’s drug policies and implement legislative changes that prioritize human dignity, social justice and public health.
Bent was first exposed to harm reduction through an undergraduate internship at Rutgers College, where she majored in English and Linguistics. She stayed on at Rutgers to earn a master’s in public policy with a concentration in social policy and women’s issues from the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. She spent several years working in Student Affairs, mentoring residential college students to help build positive and inclusive communities and promote civic involvement. Most recently, she completed her master’s in social work at Temple University. During her tenure there, she had the opportunity to intern at Philadelphia’s syringe exchange program, furthering her interest in harm reduction and inspiring her continued work in this area. She is also a long-term domestic violence hotline volunteer.
Bent appreciates the intersections between different forms of oppression and sees the harm reduction approach as an ethical imperative underscoring advocacy and clinical practice for social workers and others who are committed to eradicating social injustice, facilitating social progress, and advancing much-needed policy reform.