Department of Research and Academic Engagement

Attend Our Events, Conferences, and Trainings
Become a Drug Researcher-Advocate
Transform the Drug Research Landscape
Contact Us

Founded in January 2016, DPA’s Department of Research and Academic Engagement (DRAE) works to bridge the divide between research and effective drug policies. Our drug policies are driven by ideology, politics, stigma, greed, and/or racism rather than the evidence about what works. We at DRAE believe that it is more important than ever to promote policies grounded in scholarship and that policymakers need tools to access and use research.

Attend Our Events, Conferences, and Trainings

WE FACILITATE DIALOGUE BETWEEN RESEARCHERS AND COMMUNITIES

We host monthly Drug Researchers’ Roundtables where researchers can present their latest findings to other researchers, providers, advocates, and people who use drugs. These Roundtables are livestreamed via Zoom and recordings are archived on our website. 

We host quarterly briefings by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on the latest trends.

WE PROVIDE RESEARCHERS WITH THE SKILLS TO BECOME ADVOCATES SO THEY CAN INFLUENCE POLICY MAKERS AND MEDIA.

You can invite us to conduct our award-winning workshop, “Becoming an effective drug policy reform advocate” at your university, research center, or conference. 

Check out our archived webinars, including: 

WE CREATE FORUMS TO DISCUSS INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS TO PROBLEMS

We have hosted conferences and convenings across the nation highlighting current drug use trends, harm reduction needs, research challenges, and cross-cutting policy reform issues. These events have been attended by hundreds of attendees and have moved forward conversations about research, harm reduction, and drug policy reform. 

Click the links below to view conference programs, watch recordings, and read summary reports:

Panelists speak at our White Faces, Black Lives Conference.

Become a Drug Researcher-Advocate

WE MOBILIZE ACADEMICS AND RESEARCHERS AROUND IMPORTANT POLICY ISSUES.

We connect academics to opportunities to deliver testimony and input on emerging legislative areas.

We write and promote sign-on letters for researchers and academics on various policy issues.

We inform our network about open comment periods for important drug policy and research issues. Our network has submitted comments to: 

  • Drug Enforcement Agency,
  • Food and Drug Administration,
  • National Science and Technology Council, 
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,
  • United States Sentencing Commission, and others. 

Transform the Drug Research Landscape

We support and facilitate policy-relevant research

In light of COVID-19, DRAE has worked to facilitate collaboration between interdisciplinary researchers, community-based organizations, and people who use drugs in order to measure and evaluate the impacts of COVID-19 and related policy responses. We hosted several calls between stakeholders and identified trends on the ground, considerations for research, and essential policy-relevant questions.

WE WORK TO CHANGE THE DRUG RESEARCH LANDSCAPE

Our UnBounded Knowledge: Envisioning a New Future for Drug Policy Research Project began in 2017 in order to explore the challenges and limitations of the current drug research landscape and to envision what a truly transformative drug research agenda would entail. In 2019, we started hosting research incubator meetings for interdisciplinary researchers to develop innovative research study proposals in a number of areas of study.

We hosted a convening entitled Ethics, Experience, and Expertise where we discussed the importance of meaningful engagement with impacted communities and developed two helpful resources:

We hosted a Safe Consumption Site Data Harmonization Convening so that researchers could agree on instrumentation for evaluation of the first SCSs in the United States.

Contact Us

  • Jules Netherland, Managing Director, jnetherland [at] drugpolicy.org
  • Sheila Vakharia, Deputy Director, svakharia [at] drugpolicy.org
  • Aliza Cohen, Research Associate, acohen [at] drugpolicy.org
  • DRAE [at] drugpolicy.org
  • Follow us on Twitter @DrugPolicyNerds