New Directions California, July 8 in Los Angeles: A Public Health and Safety Approach to Drug Policy

Press Release July 1, 2010
Media Contact

Margaret Dooley-Sammuli at 213-291-4190 or Tommy McDonald at

An unprecedented collection of drug policy stakeholders — including physicians, harm reductionists, public health workers, law enforcement personnel and community advocates — will come together to chart a new course in California’s drug policy at New Directions California on Thursday, July 8 in Los Angeles. The event, co-sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance and the California Society of Addiction Medicine, will take place from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm at The California Endowment’s Center for Healthy Communities at 1000 N. Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (near LA’s Union Station).

At the one-day conference, drug policy experts from across the country and around the world will address strategies for moving beyond drug war policies and toward a health-centered approach to drug use.

California is facing dual crises of revenue shortfalls and prison overcrowding. The State Legislature is working to close a budget deficit of over $20 billion. At the same time, over 30,000 people are in state prison for a drug offense at a cost of over $1.5 billion per year ($50,000 per person per year); and the Governor has proposed eliminating funding for Drug Medi-Cal and for Proposition 36 treatment instead of incarceration. What can California learn from other states and countries about returns on investments in drug policy?

Three hundred stakeholders will come together at the conference to discuss topics, including the following:

Panel members include:

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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