246371 Community consultations and the development of a public health approach to drug policy

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Simone-Marie Meeks, MS , Division of Health Policy, The New York Academy of Medicine, New York City, NY
Tracy Pugh, MHS , Division of Health Policy, The New York Academy of Medicine, New York, NY
Julie Netherland, MSW , Division of Health Policy, The New York Academy of Medicine, New York, NY
Gabriel Sayegh , Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY
Kassandra Frederique, MSSW , Drug Policy Alliance, New York City, NY
Ruth Finkelstein, ScD , Division of Health Policy, The New York Academy of Medicine, New York, NY
The New York Academy of Medicine and the Drug Policy Alliance are working to shift focus in New York drug policies from a bifurcated, criminal justice and treatment approach to a comprehensive and coordinated public health approach. This re-focuses the metrics of successful drug policy from arrests and drug seizures to improvements in individual, family and community health and safety. To inform these efforts and build community engagement, NYAM and DPA conducted a series of 16 community consultations over the course of 7 months with over 300 community members and well over 100 organizations throughout New York State to learn from those directly impacted by drug use and current drug policies. The community consultations were held as open discussions for community members to engage and share with the facilitators as well as each other: their perceptions regarding drug use and the current response to it, community needs to address drug use, innovative ideas about strategies to prevent and reduce drug use and related harm, and prioritization of issues and strategies. The findings are primarily organized into one of four pillars – prevention, treatment, harm reduction and public safety. This Four Pillars Model has been proven successful in establishing a comprehensive, public health approach to drug policy in Canada and Europe. In addition to the four pillars, stigma and structural racism emerged as cross-cutting themes. Across consultations, participants called for a paradigm shift in how we approach drug policy.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1.Define what a “public health approach to drug policy” means and how it would help individuals and communities. 2.Describe a community consultation and engagement process for informing new health policy approaches. 3.Identify the key problems, issues, and policy barriers facing organizations, communities and individuals affected by drug use across New York State. 4.Identify community informed strategies for moving towards a public health approach. 5.Identify organizational regulations/processes that challenge the implementation of a public health approach.

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, Drugs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been actively involved in the development and implementation of this project and the drug policy work of the institution.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.