Online Program

A blueprint for a public health and safety approach to drug policy

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 3:30 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.

Tracy Pugh, MHS, Division of Health Policy, The New York Academy of Medicine, nyc, NY
Julie Netherland, PhD, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY
Ruth Finkelstein, ScD, The New York Academy of Medicine, New York, NY
Gabriel Sayegh, BA, Drug Policy Alliance, NYC, NY
Simone-Marie Meeks, MS, Office of the President, The New York Academy of Medicine, nyc, NY
Kassandra Frederique, MSW, Drug Policy Alliance, NYC, NY
Advocates have long recognized the negative collateral consequences of punitive drug enforcement policies, particularly on communities of color, but have not adequately articulated an alternative “public health” approach that comprehensively addresses the adverse impact current drug policies have had on population health outcomes. The New York Academy of Medicine and the Drug Policy Alliance have been working to address this need through the development of a Blueprint for a Public Health & Safety Approach to Drug Policy in New York. Through policy analysis, literature reviews and extensive community consultations with over 500 community members and experts, the Blueprint's findings describe the public health impact of drug policies and the barriers to a coordinated, comprehensive public health approach. This research also informed the development of detailed recommendations to be implemented at the state and local level for aligning policies across agencies and sectors towards the common goal of improving the health and safety of communities. Because our current approaches to drug policy, particularly incarceration, disproportionately affect communities of color, this new approach also helps address existing racial and income disparities in the distribution of drug-related harm. Overall, it calls for a comprehensive, multi-sectoral strategy that integrates the Four Pillars model of Prevention, Harm Reduction, Treatment and Public Safety. This Four Pillars Model has already been proven successful in establishing a comprehensive, public health approach to drug policy in Canada and Europe and significantly improving the health outcomes of their impacted communities.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Define what a “public health approach to drug policy” means and how it would help individuals and communities Explain the major problems, issues, and policy barriers to improved health outcomes, facing organizations, communities and individuals affected by drug use Identify the drivers of health and criminal justice disparities in current drug policy approaches Describe a policy framework and recommendations for implementing a public health approach to drugs at the state and local level

Keyword(s): Drugs, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the lead staffer and researcher on our work in drug policy. Among my interests and research efforts, have been to review the intersections of drug policy, criminal justice policies and health disparities as well as the development of policy strategies to address the policy drivers of these disparities.
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.