The New York Academy of Medicine and the Drug Policy Alliance to Co-Host New Directions for New York: A Public Health and Safety Approach to Drug Policy, January 22-23

Press Release January 14, 2009
Media Contact

Tony Newman at 646-335-5384 or Malini Doddamani at 212-822-7285

Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) will host “New Directions for New York: A Public Health and Safety Approach to Drug Policy.” The Conference will bring together service providers, policymakers, public safety personnel and community advocates to discuss coordinated, public health-focused drug policies that incorporate prevention, treatment, harm reduction and public safety.

The conference comes on the heels of the historic hearings held last May in the New York State Assembly. For the first time, Committees on Codes, Corrections, Judiciary, Health, Social Services, and Alcoholism and Drug Abuse came together to discuss the development of public health drug policies in New York.

Among the topics to be discussed will be reforming the Rockefeller Drug Laws; reducing HIV/AIDS through broader sterile syringe availability; improving state agency coordination to prevent accidental drug overdoses; standardizing data collection; and expanding treatment opportunities.

“New York is well poised to lead the nation in shifting drug policy from a criminal justice to a public health paradigm,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the DPA. “All that’s required is a consensus that city and state drug policies should be grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights — and that’s what this conference is about!”

NYAM and DPA are creating an unprecedented opportunity for key stakeholders from various disciplines and perspectives to work together in crafting more effective approaches to New York’s drug policies.

The objectives of the conference include:

“One of the greater challenges we face with current drug policy is that its key stakeholders rarely have the time and opportunity to problem-solve together. A public health approach requires input from and dialogue among all, and this conference seeks to promote and support such a process,” said Jo Ivey Boufford, MD, President of The New York Academy of Medicine. “We at NYAM are excited to host this meeting and we look forward to an open discussion of the challenges to the creation of joint strategies, mutual understanding, and shared courses of action.”

The conference kicks off on Thursday, January 22nd with a public event from 7-9pm at the New York Academy of Medicine (1216 Fifth Avenue @ 103 St.) that will feature a lively discussion with:

On Friday, January 23rd the conference continues at the New York Academy of Medicine with a day of sessions that already have a waiting list. There are over 75 sponsoring and partnering organizations including medical centers, legal associations and schools of public health, as well as city and state groups representing public safety, treatment providers, prison reform, harm reduction and HIV prevention advocates. To view the full sponsor and partner list and the conference program please visit

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

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