Achievement Awards

These awards honor those who have made exceptional accomplishments in eight award categories, including science, medicine, law, and education....

And we want your feedback!!

Please include your nomination(s) here.

In considering awardees, we look for deserving individuals who typically have demonstrated many years of commitment to drug policy reform.

Please also think about equity as you consider and suggest award recipients – we are strongly committed to achieving diversity across issue area, gender, nationality, race, ethnicity, etc.  

We value your input!


2017 Awardees

Ethan Nadelmann – The Richard J. Dennis Drugpeace Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Drug Policy Reform

This award is given to the individuals who most epitomize loyal opposition to drug war extremism.

Ethan Nadelmann

Described by Rolling Stone as "the point man" for drug policy reform efforts and “the real drug czar,” Ethan Nadelmann is widely regarded as the outstanding proponent of drug policy reform both in the United States and abroad.  He founded and directed (from 2000 to 2017) the Drug Policy Alliance.  


Javier Valdez – The Edward M. Brecher Award for Achievement in the Field of Media

* Ismael Bojórquez accepting on behalf of Javier Valdez

This award honors those in the media who have produced the highest quality of journalistic coverage of drug policy and other drug issues.

Javier Valdez

Javier Valdez Cárdenas was a Mexican journalist who received several international awards for his courageous writing on drug trafficking and organized crime in the Mexican Drug War. Valdez Cárdenas was the founder of Ríodoce, a weekly dedicated to covering crime and corruption in Sinaloa, considered one of Mexico's most violent states.


Michelle Alexander – The Alfred R. Lindesmith Award for Achievement in the Field of Scholarship

This award recognizes scholars, like Alfred Lindesmith, whose personal courage and quality of published research constitute a source of rational inspiration for all who labor in drug policy scholarship.

Michelle Alexander

Michelle Alexander is a highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate, legal scholar, and best-selling author.  Her award-winning book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, helped to spark a national debate about the crisis of mass incarceration in the United States, and inspired racial justice organizing and advocacy efforts nationwide.


Kenneth Glasgow and Kathie Kane-Willis – The Robert C. Randall Award for Achievement in the Field of Citizen Action

This award honors citizens who make democracy work in the difficult area of drug law and policy reform.

Pastor Kenneth Glasgow

Pastor Kenneth Glasgow is an advocate for harm reduction, prison reform, and restoration of rights and opportunities for formerly incarcerated people, and the founder and President of The Ordinary People Society. TOPS provides rehabilitation/habilitation to formerly incarcerated people.


Kathie Kane-Willis

Kathie Kane-Willis co-founded the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy. She advanced several harm reduction policies in the Midwest, including 911 Good Samaritan laws, naloxone access laws, ensuring methadone access for Medicaid-eligible individuals, and bringing attention to drug-induced homicide laws.


Jack Fishman – The Norman E. Zinberg Award for Achievement in the Field of Medicine

* Joy Fishman accepting on behalf of Jack Fishman

This award recognizes medical and treatment experts who see beyond politics and make influential contributions to the fields of science and medicine.

Jack Fishman

Dr. Jack Fishman pioneered the study of opiate antagonists and developed a number of medicinal compounds that aid in reversing the effects of opioids – the most prominent of these being naloxone, a life-saving medicine now widely used throughout the world.



Diane Goldstein - The H.B. Spear Award for Achievement in the Field of Law Enforcement

This award is given to those involved in law enforcement who have demonstrated a balanced regard for the needs of enforcement and human compassion.

Diane Goldstein

Diane Goldstein is an executive board member for the Law Enforcement Action Partnership. She spent 21 years with the Redondo Beach Police Department working assignments including drugs and gangs. Both her professional experience and the death of her brother from a drug overdose inspired her to turn grief into activism.


Senator Cory Booker – ​​​​​The Schmoke/LeDain Award for Achievement in the Field of Law (formerly the Justice Gerald LeDain Award)

This award is given to those involved in law who have worked within official institutions when extremist pressures dominate government policies.

Senator Cory A. Booker

As New Jersey’s junior Senator, Cory Booker has emerged as a national leader in the Congressional push for common sense criminal justice reform, advocating for front-end sentencing reforms, pushing for the banning of juvenile solitary confinement in federal facilities, and spearheading legislation to make the hiring process fairer for the formerly incarcerated. 


Mark Kinzly – The Dr. Andrew Weil Award for Achievement in the Field of Drug Education

This award is given to those involved in drug education who have promoted honest, science-based drug education in place of ineffective scare tactics based on myths and deceit.

Mark Kinzly

Mark Kinzly has worked in the field of harm reduction and public health for the past 27 years, bringing innovative prevention/interventions to the drug-using and recovery community. He is currently a national trainer and consultant on issues related to substance use – ranging from HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C interventions, to the development of appropriate responses to the complexities of addiction.


See the list of past winners.