Leading the Way: Toward a Public Health & Safety Approach to Drug Policy in New York


May 02, 2013 - May 03, 2013
Buffalo, NY

In May 2013, The Drug Policy Alliance and Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy convened a conference about establishing more effective approaches to drug policy in New York. The conference took place in Buffalo, New York and brought together over 200 conference participants from around the state, the U.S., and world.

In examining New York’s drug policies, the conference engaged with a newly release report by DPA and The New York Academy of Medicine: Blueprint for a Public Health Safety Approach to Drug Policy. Drawing from disciplines such as public health, drug treatment, harm reduction, medicine, public safety, law, sociology and criminal justice, the conference convened key political leaders, government officials, community organizations, leading academics, service providers, advocates and people directly impacted by drug policies in New York State.

Leading the Way Program Information

Leading the Way Conference Archive

Additional Materials

Media Clips

Conference Objectives:

  • Assess the current approach to drug policy in New York.
  • Examine the current national landscape and emerging developments in drug policy, criminal justice, and health, including the growing bipartisan opposition to mass incarceration and support for alternatives to incarceration; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; and the 2012 elections, wherein citizens in Colorado and Washington voted to end marijuana prohibition in those states.
  • Consider the effectiveness of approaches to drug policy in other cities, states and countries.
  • Discuss evidence-based strategies for building a coordinated, health-focused approach to drug policy in New York that addresses prevention, treatment, harm, reduction, and public safety, and reduces racial disparities.
  • Foster connections among groups and sectors that have not traditionally worked together.
  • Outline action steps to realize a new approach so that New York can lead the nation in implementing more effective drug policies.

Conference Co-Hosts

The Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy, University at Buffalo, SUNY
Drug Policy Alliance

Conference Sponsors

School of Public Health and Health Professions, University at Buffalo, SUNY
Civic Engagement and Public Policy Research Initiative, University at Buffalo, SUNY
Department of Sociology, University at Buffalo, SUNY
Research Institute on Addictions, University at Buffalo, SUNY
SUNY Buffalo Law School
VOCAL-NY (NYC, Westchester, Albany)
Western New York Peace Center

Conference Partners (List in Formation)

A Better Way Foundation (Hartford, CT)
After Hours Project (NYC)
Agape Fellowship Baptist church (Buffalo)
AIDS Care (Rochester)
Antiracist Alliance (NYC, Westchester)
Bronx Clergy Criminal Justice Roundtable, Inc.
Bronx Defenders
Brooklyn Defender Services
Center for Community Alternatives (Syracuse and NYC)
Center for Law & Justice (Albany)
Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions (NYC)
CitiWide Harm Reduction (Bronx)
Citizen Action New York (Syracuse)
Coalition for Economic Justice (Buffalo / statewide)
Columbia University School of Social Work
Community Action Organization of Erie County – CAO (Buffalo)
Community Health Action of Staten Island
Community Health Worker Network of Buffalo
Correctional Association of New York (statewide)
Council on Addiction Recovery Services, Inc. (Olean)
Delaine-Waring African Methodist Episcopal Church (Buffalo)
Department of Public Health & the Addiction Studies Program in the Falk College at Syracuse University
Diesel House (Syracuse)
Evergreen Health Services (Western NY)
Exponents (NYC)
Faith Mission Crisis Center (Queens)
Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted Peoples Movement – FICPM (National)
Fortune Society (NYC)
HAMS: Harm Reduction for Alcohol (National)
Harlem United Community AIDS Center, Inc
Horizon Health Services (Buffalo)
Horizon Village, Inc. (Buffalo)
Housing Works (NYC)
Human Services Council of New York (statewide)
Huther Doyle (Rochester)
Incarceration Initiative, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
In Our Name (statewide)
International Doctors for Healthy Drug Policies
IT Could Happen To You (statewide)
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition – LEAP (national)
Legal Action Center (national)
Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence - LICADD (Nassau and Suffolk Counties)
Long Island Minority AIDS Coalition
Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center (NYC)
Milk Not Jails
The Mocha Center, Inc. (Rochester, Buffalo)
NAACP (Yonkers)
NAACP (Syracuse)
National Action Network (Buffalo)
The New York Academy of Medicine
New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers – ASAP (statewide)
New York Civil Liberties Union Western Regional Office (Buffalo)
New York Harm Reduction Educators (NYC)
P.A.P.A.II - People Assisting Positive Actions (Harlem and Queens)
Partnership for the Public Good (Buffalo)
Prison Action Network (statewide)
Prisoners Are People Too (Buffalo)
PUSH Buffalo
Samaritan Hospital Cancer Treatment Center (Troy)
Save the Michaels of the World (Buffalo)
Second Baptist Church of Lackawanna
Social Network Research Group of John Jay College, CUNY
Southern Tier AIDS Program
St. Anne’s Corner of Harm Reduction (NYC)
Urban League of Westchester
Washington Heights CORNER Project (NYC)
Women on the Rise Telling HerStory – WORTH (NYC)