A Public Health & Safety Approach to Drug Policy

In 2013, the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) and DPA jointly released a Blueprint for a Public Health and Safety to Approach to Drug Policy. Based on consultations with New Yorkers across the state and an extensive literature review, the document outlines how New York can move from drug policies that are dominated by the criminal justice system and often contradictory towards a coordinated drug policy rooted in public health and aimed at improving the health and safety of individuals, families and communities. This new approach to drug policy was also discussed at a conference co-sponsored by DPA and Baldy Center for law and Social Policy held in Buffalo in May of 2013 called Leading the Way: Toward a Public Health and Safety Approach to Drug Policy in New York.

Using the Blueprint as guide, DPA will now begin working with municipalities across New York as well as at the state level to implement some of the report’s recommendations.  Partnering with local organizations, DPA hopes to build support for shifting our approach to drug policy from one dominated by the criminal justice system to one rooted in public health.

View the full report.
View the executive summary.

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.

New Directions for New York: a Public Health & Safety Approach to Drug. In January 2009 the Drug Policy Alliance and The New York Academy of Medicine convened over 300 conference participants, representing community advocates, researchers, business leaders, service providers and legislators from all over the state in order to build a public health and safety approach to drug policy.  The conference also included participants from around the U.S. and Canada, and speakers from the Governor's office, the New York State Senate and Assembly, and New York City Council. New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver released his very first policy position paper calling for a public health approach to drug policy. It was an extraordinary event.

Three months later, the New York State Legislature passed historic reforms to the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws, and called for a new direction in the state's drug policies.