Drug Treatment

Drug law enforcement efforts receive ample funding each year while drug treatment options remain shamefully underfunded. Many people who seek help for their problematic drug use are unable to access treatment, encountering insurance barriers, months-long wait lists, or programs that don't meet their needs. Far too many people are only able to access drug treatment as a result of an arrest or criminal conviction.

Our Priorities

A sad consequence of the drug war's neglect of drug treatment programs is that many people who want help are unable to access it, and those who do are often limited to an abstinence-only, 12-step model that works for some, but not everyone. 
Most of these treatment modalities fail to address the legal, financial, vocational, custodial, and psychosocial dimensions of life often adversely affected by problematic drug use, leaving the person seeking treatment empty-handed when it comes to addressing these issues.

Funding and research
The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) advocates for increased federal and state funding for drug treatment and research than can help determine which treatment models are the safest and most effective. We believe that judgment-free, individualized treatment should be available to people at all stages of the recovery spectrum. 

Replacement therapies
We advocate for well-researched, proven treatment strategies, such as methadone and buprenorphine, and for prescription heroin assisted treatment and other treatment models that have been successful abroad but are not yet permitted in the United States. 

Treatment instead of incarceration
DPA favors alternatives to incarceration for people with drug convictions and has supported several treatment-instead-of-incarceration ballot initiatives. No one should have to have an arrest or criminal record in order to get the health care they want. 

We believe strongly that treatment is a health service and are committed to protecting drug treatment from being co-opted by the criminal justice system. Further, we believe that no one should be convicted of a crime for what they put into their bodies, absent harm to others.

While providing treatment to those who seek help is an essential aspect of smart, effective drug policy, mandating treatment for anyone caught using or possessing any illicit drug is counterproductive. We believe that distinguishing between problematic and non-problematic drug use is extremely important, and no one should be forced into drug treatment if they do not need or want drug treatment.

Maryland General Assembly Adopts Bills to Combat Opioid Epidemic

Legislation Addresses Access to Treatment and Crisis Services, Education, and Public Awareness

Measures Await Final Approval Before Heading to Governor's Desk

As deaths from drug overdoses increase across the state and nation, the House of Delegates has passed legislation to bolster Maryland’s public health approach to the opioid epidemic with overwhelming bipartisan support. The legislative package, endorsed by the Maryland General Assembly House Opioid Workgroup, will combat the opioid epidemic by increasing treatment access, prevention efforts, and public awareness and education.


Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Kaitlyn Boecker 402-670-3773

Groundbreaking Drug Policy Bills Reintroduced in Maryland

Legislation Addresses Addiction, Deadly Overdose, Spread of Infectious Disease and Incarceration Rates for Drug-Related Offenses

Proposed Bills Would Provide Treatment-on-Demand in Hospitals, Decriminalize Small Amounts of Drugs, and Set Up Safe Consumption Programs

As deaths from drug overdoses increase nationwide, Maryland Delegate Dan Morhaim, M.D. – also a practicing physician in emergency and internal medicine for more than 30 years – has introduced three bills to transform drug policy in the state. This groundbreaking legislative package, with multiple co-sponsors from across Maryland, would reduce the harms associated with substance abuse disorders, including rates of addiction, deadly overdose, the spread of infectious disease, crime, costs to the general public, and incarceration rates.  H.B.


Tony Newman, 646-335-5384
Lindsay LaSalle, 415-847-8064

A Public Health and Safety Approach to Problematic Opioid Use and Overdose

December 7, 2016

Rates of opioid use, dependence, and overdose in the United States are reaching epidemic-level proportions. In this action plan, DPA outlines a robust response focused on effective treatment, harm reduction, prevention, and reducing the role of criminalization to optimally address increasing rates of opioid dependence, overdose, and other negative consequences stemming from opioid use.


June 16, 2016

What causes addiction? Easy, right? Drugs cause addiction. But maybe it is not that simple. This video, made by Kurzgesagt, is adapted from Johann Hari's New York Times best-selling book 'Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.' The video highlights the important work of Dr. Bruce Alexander and his Rat Park project, a groundbreaking study into the causes of drug addiction.

Medical Professionals and Advocates Slam Governor's Heroin Bill that Allows Hospitals to Detain People Against Their Will

Proposed 72-Hour Detention Has No Basis in Medical Science, Dehumanizes People, and Will Likely Lead to More Overdose Deaths

Policy Responses to Drug Use Must Prioritize Health and Safety of People Who Use Drugs

ALBANY, New York — Medical professionals and advocates are expressing concerns about a provision of the heroin bill package being advanced by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislature, which would allow healthcare facilities to detain people who use drugs against their will for up to 3 days.

Central concerns of medical professionals and addiction treatment advocates include:


Kassandra Frederique, 646-209-0374
Matt Curtis, 646-234-9062

Let's Quit Abusing Drug Users: A TEDMED Talk by Dr. Carl Hart

Carl Hart, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at Columbia University, offers a provocative, evidence-based view of addiction and discusses how it should impact drug policy.

Tuesday: Maryland House of Delegates to Hold Groundbreaking Hearings on Two Harm Reduction Bills

One Bill Creates a Safe and Supervised Space for People to Use Drugs; The Other Would Establish a Pilot Program to Treat Opioid Dependence with Poly-Morphone Therapy

Proposals are Part of Groundbreaking Package of Harm Reduction Drug Policy Bills That Would Also Decriminalize Small Amounts of All Drugs and Provide Treatment-at-Need in ER’s and Hospitals

Tuesday at 1pm, the Maryland House of Delegates will hold legislative hearings on two progressive legislative proposals aimed at treating drug use as a health issue. House Bill 1212 permits the establishment of safe consumption programs, which allow individuals to consume controlled substances in a safe space, provide sterile equipment, and connect patients to treatment, medical care, and other social services.


Delegate Dan Morhaim, 410-841-3054
Lindsay LaSalle, 510-679-2315
Tony Newman, 646-335-5384

Vermont Governor Calls for Legalizing Marijuana in State of the State Address

Gov. Shumlin Declares Drug War a Failure and Calls for Expanded Overdose Prevention and Treatment Access

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin called on lawmakers to pass legislation legalizing and regulating marijuana in his final State of the State address today. He also declared the drug war a failure and expressed desire to continue emphasizing a health-based approach to drug policy by expanding treatment and overdose prevention programs, as well as by removing the stigma associated with drug use and addiction.


Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Bill Piper 202-669-6430

Illinois House Overrides Governor's Veto of the Heroin Crisis Bill in a Step toward Rebuilding Illinois' Failed System

Springfield, IL- In a vote of 105-5, the Illinois House of Representatives voted to override Governor Rauner’s amendatory veto of HB1, the Heroin Crisis Bill, which was filed in response to the growing problem of opioid overdose and addiction in Illinois. The bill had previously passed unanimously in the Illinois House and nearly unanimously in the Illinois Senate.


Kathie Kane Willis: (312) 341-4336
Tommy McDonald: (510) 338-8827

Harm Reduction and Human Rights: Strategies on Expanding Harm Reduction Through Human Rights

May 20, 2015

Watch the recording now!

Harm reduction services and syringe exchange are more than just a prevention strategy. Access to these vital services enables HIV testing, linkage to care and other critical health/social services, as well as affirming the human rights and dignity of people who use drugs.

Page 1 of 7
Syndicate content