2019 Conference Program

Wednesday, November 6

Registration | Midway West

Opening Reception | Midway West

Thursday, November 7

Breakfast | Midway West

Registration | Midway West

Welcome & Opening Plenary | Grand Ballroom

Morning Break

Breakout Sessions

War on Women/War on Drugs: Power, Bodies and Autonomy? | Midway 6

Is there anything about the drug war more insidious than its traumatic role in the lives of women? From childbirth to simply walking in the street, the drug war is a constant threat to women who use drugs – and even those who don’t. Despite the pervasive ways in which the drug war harms women, conversation around this intersectional issue has often been deemed as too “niche” for both drug policy spaces and within the women’s rights movement. In a time of increased killings of Black trans women, women being assaulted in social service offices, and women facing the death penalty or mandatory minimums for using drugs while pregnant, we have to ask: What are the reforms our movement needs to prioritize? How can we elevate awareness that the war on drugs is a continuation of the war on women? What other movements do we need to invite to the table?

Moderator

Dr. Kim Sue, Medical Director, Harm Reduction Coalition, Brooklyn, NY

Panelists

  • Kate D'Adamo, Partner, Reframe Health and Justice, Baltimore, MD
  • Justine Moore, Director of Training, National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, Brooklyn, NY
  • Lynn Paltrow, Executive Director/Founder, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, New York, NY
  • Tamika Spellman, Advocacy Associate, HIPS, Washington, D.C.
  • Andrea Ritchie, Researcher-in-Residence, Interrupting Criminalization: Research in Action, Brooklyn, NY
  • Jess Tilley, Executive Director, New England Users Union/HRH413, Florence, MA

Does Harm Reduction-Based Drug Education Work for Teens? Evaluation Results from DPA's Safety First Curriculum | Regency B

DPA's Safety First curriculum – a rigorous attempt to create an evidence-based, harm reduction-based drug education program for high school students – has now been piloted and evaluated in New York City and San Francisco schools, with promising results. Learn more about this first-of-its-kind curriculum from a teacher, administrator and evaluator who have helped implement Safety First in the classroom.

Moderator

Sasha Simon, Safety First Program Manager, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY

Panelists

  • Nina Rose Fischer, Safety First Principal Investigator, John Jay School of Criminal Justice, New York, NY
  • Cheryl Nelson, Health Teacher on Special Assignment, School Health Programs, San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco, CA
  • Marsha Rosenbaum, Director Emerita and Safety First Founder, Drug Policy Alliance, San Francisco, CA
  • Joseph Rubin, Health Teacher, San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco, CA

Expanding the Reach: Harm Reduction Services on the US/Mexico Border and in Migrant Communities | Midway 5

Despite the current administration’s attempts to weaponize the overdose crisis to stigmatize immigrants and other vulnerable groups, vast swaths of the public – in the U.S. and in countries around the globe – support ending the drug war policies that gave rise to this crisis. Yet health and harm reduction services that reduce the harms of drug use remain stubbornly inaccessible in many areas like the US/Mexico border. What is happening on the US/Mexico border? How do we build bridges where others want to build walls? This panel brings together those fighting “the other war on drugs” at the border region where migrants, refugees and those most marginalized converge.

Moderator

Armando Gudiño, Policy Manager, Drug Policy Alliance, Los Angeles, CA

Panelists

  • Lourdes Angulo, Integración Social Verter A. C., Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico
  • Stephany Campos, Executive Administrator, Homeless Health Care Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
  • Rebecca Cazares, Physician/Clinic Coordinator, Prevencasa A.C.,  Tijuana B.C., Baja California, Mexico
  • Lilia Pacheco, Mtra. L.N., Prevencasa AC, Tijuana B.C., Baja California, Mexico
  • Said Slim, Physical Anthropologist, Integración Social Verter A. C., Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico
     

Policy Advocacy for Researchers and Academics | Regency A

As researchers and academics, we want our work to have real-world impact but often lack the skills and training to do so effectively. This training will provide an overview of how drug policy actually gets made, the role of scholarship in advancing drug policy, and how scholars can engage effectively in reforming drug policies. This training will share a wide range of practical advice on how to maximize the potential policy impact of your work.

Trainer

Jules Netherland, Managing Director, Department of Research and Academic Engagement, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY
 

Marijuana Legalization and Public Health: What Have We Learned So Far? | Regency C

As jurisdictions around the world move to legally regulate marijuana, questions about the public health impacts remain. Panelists from the U.S., Canada and Uruguay will come together to share lessons learned and areas for future research. Which policy proposals are best suited to maximize benefits while minimizing public health harms?

Moderator

Melissa Moore, Deputy State Director, New York, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY

Panelists

  • Rebecca Haines-Saah, Assistant Professor, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
  • Silvia Martins, Associate Professor, Columbia University, New York, NY
  • David Nathan, Founder and Board President, Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, Princeton, NJ
  • Sheila Vakharia, Deputy Director, Department of Research and Academic Engagement, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY

Lunch (On your own)

Off-site Tour - St. Louis Then & Now

Breakout Sessions

Frontline Enforcers of the Drug War: Can We Count on Police To Do Anything But Damage? | Regency C

Police work on the front lines of the drug war, carrying out stops, searches, and arrests, often committing acts of violence and brutality in the process. Across the world, a rise in right-wing populism has given police a mandate to expand drug war tactics, including surges in violence perpetrated on people who use or sell drugs and their communities. How do activists in Brazil, Colombia, the Philippines and the U.S. fight for their rights in this context? Can we imagine police being helpful, rather than harmful? What would an alternative vision of policing look like?

Moderator

Kassandra Frederique, Managing Director, Policy Advocacy and Campaigns, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY

Panelists

  • Thiago Amparo, Research Coordinator, Iniciativa Negra, São Paulo, Brazil
  • Daniel Gomez, Researcher, Ilex, Colombia
  • Kristine Mendoza, Lawyer, Streetlaw PH, Quezon City, Philippines
  • Andrea Ritchie, Author and Researcher-in-Residence, Barnard Center for Research on Women, New York, NY
  • Neil Woods, Chair, Law Enforcement Action Partnership UK

Taking Drug Policy Reform Local: A Municipal Drug Strategy Approach | Midway 6

Staggering under the weight of half a century of failed federal and state drug policies, cities are joining together to find humane ways to resist criminalization. Cities are successfully demonstrating that when solutions and interventions are designed at the local level, they reflect the unique character of a community and its people – and thus the impact of such interventions are more effective and felt more immediately. Is local government best positioned to craft and lead on meaningful drug policy reforms? What can we learn from municipalities in Europe, Canada and the U.S. that have successfully engaged in a municipal drug strategy approach?

Moderator

Emily Kaltenbach, State Director, New Mexico, Drug Policy Alliance, Santa Fe, NM

Panelists

  • Katherine Celentano, Policy Coordinator, Drug Policy Alliance, Ithaca, NY
  • Tarsi Dunlop, Policy and Program Manager, Local Progress, Arlington, VA
  • Andres Mercado, Battalion Chief, City of Santa Fe Fire Department, Santa Fe, NM
  • Chris Van Veen, Director, Vancouver Coastal Health, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

From Tough Love to Reducing Harm: What Role Can Family Advocacy Play in Ending the Drug War? | Regency B

The drug war’s impact on families is especially pernicious. “Tough love” narratives confuse love with enabling, mass criminalization pries children from parents, and predatory marketing from bad actors in the treatment industry preys on scared parents. Historically, family advocacy groups have helped fuel draconian drug war policies. Yet family advocates can also be a force for equity and transformative justice.  What does powerful family organizing look like? What can harm reduction look like within families? What does it look like in policy spaces for families’ voices to be heard, while also ensuring that the voices of people who use drugs are centered?

Moderator

Alexis Pleus, Executive Director, Truth Pharm, Binghamton, NY

Panelists

  • Dinah Adames, Family Defense Supervisor, Bronx Defenders, Bronx, NY 
  • Sera Davidow, Director, Western Mass RLC, Holyoke, MA
  • Joy Fishman, Board Member, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY
  • Lugard Okello, Campaign Manager, Anyone’s Child Kenya, Mesa, AZ

Sex Workers Who Use Drugs: Living At the Nexus of Two Wars | Midway 5

Sex workers who use drugs live at the nexus of two wars – the war on drugs and the war on trafficking. Although both wars claim to promote public health and safety, in reality forcing both economies underground has increased and compounded potential harms. Panelists will discuss the unique challenges faced by sex workers who use drugs, particularly the most marginalized, whose drug use and involvement in the sex trade expose them to violence, surveillance and policing. The panel discussion will focus on the ways in which the drug policy reform movement can expand its advocacy agenda to consider the ways in which existing drug policies uniquely impact sex workers who use drugs.

Moderator

Sheila Vakharia, Deputy Director, Department of Research and Academic Engagement, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY

Panelists

  • Bella Bathory, Director, SWOPLA, Northridge, CA
  • Justice Rivera, Partner, Reframe Health and Justice, Seattle, WA
  • Susan Sherman, Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
  • Tamika Spellman, Advocacy Associate, HIPS, Washington, D.C.

Closing the Workhouse: A Movement to Close St. Louis’ Infamous Jail Gains Momentum | Regency A

For years the hellish conditions at St. Louis City’s medium security facility, known as “The Workhouse”, have been known to city residents, public officials and the media. Local activist organizations have been calling for its closure for years. But a new grassroots campaign called Close the Workhouse is seeing real momentum. What has changed? What tactics have worked to influence and pressure local officials? Led by directly impacted people and more than two dozen local, regional and national partners, this campaign has gained political support and captured the public’s imagination. Learn more about the players, the process, and the politics of closing the Workhouse.

Moderator

Stephanie Regagnon, Founder, Ava’s Grace Scholarship, St. Louis, MO

Panelists

  • Inez Bordeaux, Manager of Community Collaborations, ArchCity Defenders, St. Louis, MO
  • Jae Shepherd, Close the Workhouse Organizer, Action St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
  • Hattie Svoboda-Stel, Bail Disruptor, The Bail Project, St. Louis, MO

Afternoon Break

Breakout Sessions

Public Health and Medicalization: Promise or Peril? | Regency A

Public health and medicine are often portrayed as less benign alternatives to criminalization, but they are not without their own problems. In what ways can medicine and public health be used to coerce or control people who use drugs? What is gained and lost when drugs, such as psychedelics, or treatments for addiction are exclusively controlled by medical professionals? This panel will outline both the advantages and disadvantages of framing drug problems as public health and medical problems, while exploring alternatives that rely on neither criminalization nor medicalization.

Moderator

Jules Netherland, Managing Director, Department of Research and Academic Engagement, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY

Panelists

  • Ricky Bluthenthal, Professor and Associate Dean for Social Justice, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA
  • Kate D'Adamo, Partner, Reframe Health and Justice, Baltimore, MD
  • David Showalter, Doctoral Candidate in Sociology, University of California, Berkeley, CA
  • Rebecca Tiger, Associate Professor of Sociology, Middlebury College, Weybridge, VT
  • Ingrid Walker, Associate Professor US Studies, University of Washington, Tacoma, WA

Criminal Justice Reform 2.0 | Regency C

What's next for criminal justice reform? What innovative approaches to reform are out there that merit more discussion? This panel will take an expansive look at criminal justice reform, examining issues such as e-incarceration and surveillance, confidential informants, and prison abolition.

Moderator

Neill Franklin, Executive Director, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Medford, MA

Panelists

  • Rebecca Brown, Director of Policy, Innocence Project, New York, NY
  • Kara Gotsch, Director of Strategic Initiatives, The Sentencing Project, Washington, D.C.
  • Justine Moore, Director of Training, National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, Brooklyn, NY
  • Evonne Silva, Senior Program Director, Criminal Justice, Code for America, San Francisco, CA

Drug War Déjà Vu: Pushing Back Against Harsh Penalties for Fentanyl | Midway 6

Recent years have seen a sharp increase in overdose deaths related to fentanyl and its synthetic equivalents. The surge in fatalities has led lawmakers to dust off the drug war playbook. At a time when sentencing reform has such a high level of support from across the political spectrum, and there is supposedly a more compassionate approach to the “opioid epidemic”, at least 30 states have increased sentences for fentanyl-related crimes, ranging from simple possession to trafficking and distribution. What explains this contradiction? Why is more not being done to push back against harsh fentanyl penalties? What should harm reductionists be doing?

Moderator

Abraham Gutman, Opinion Writer, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA

Panelists

  • Faustino Fuentes, Harm Reduction Consultant, New York, NY
  • Raichelle Johnson, Community Coordinator and Outreach Worker, B’more Power, Baltimore, MD
  • Susan Sherman, Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
  • Grant Smith, Deputy Director, Office of National Affairs, Drug Policy Alliance, Washington, D.C.
  • Benjamin Westhoff, Author, Grove Atlantic, St. Louis, MO

Growing the Drugs We Use: Sustainability and Inclusion in the Cultivation of Crops for Psychoactive Purposes | Regency B

People have been cultivating crops for psychoactive purposes for millennia for traditional, cultural, religious, recreational and economic reasons. People who cultivate these crops outside of legal, recognized markets have faced criminalization, forced eradication, cultural intolerance, loss of livelihoods, and destruction of the environment, as governments have engaged in costly efforts to eradicate the drug supply. What have eradication policies meant for people who cultivate crops for psychoactive purposes? With the legalization of certain drugs, what are the implications for people who have cultivated outside the legal system? How can new legalized systems be inclusive of people who cultivated before legalization? How can cultivation be done in an environmentally sustainable way? What does the future look like for people who cultivate plants for psychoactive purposes?

Moderator

Zara Snapp, Co-Founder, Instituto RIA, Mexico City, Mexico

Panelists

  • Martin Jelsma, Director Drugs & Democracy Programme, Transnational Institute, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Hai Thanh Luong, Criminology Researcher, RMIT University, Australia
  • David Restrepo, Research Director, Center for the Study of Drugs and Security, University of the Andes, Colombia 
  • San Wai, Programme Coordinator, Metta Development Foundation, Yangon, Myanmar
  • Greekson Zweni, Chairperson and Speaker, Umzimvubu Farmers Support Network (UFSN), Lusikisiki, South Africa

Supervised Consumption Sites As Drug User Liberation | Midway 5

Supervised consumption sites (SCS) are more than just sterile, clinical places for people to use drugs under medical supervision. They are spaces for people who use drugs to connect, to organize, and to create their own liberation from the war on drugs and other societal harms and stigmas. How have SCS been used around the world to support the rights and self-determination of people who use drugs? What is the potential for SCS in the U.S. to expand a liberatory framework for people who use drugs? What does drug user liberation look like in the U.S.?

Moderator

Laura Thomas, Director, Harm Reduction Policy, San Francisco AIDS Foundation, San Francisco, CA

Panelists

  • Miss Ian Callaghan, Executive Director, San Francisco Drug Users Union, Oakland, CA
  • Zoe Dodd, Toronto Overdose Prevention Society/South Riverdale Community Health Centre, Toronto, Canada
  • Kassandra Frederique, Managing Director, Policy Advocacy and Campaigns, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY
  • Aura Roig, Director, Metzineres (ICEERS), Barcelona, Spain
  • Monique Tula, Executive Director, Harm Reduction Coalition, Oakland, CA

Achievement Awards Reception | Pegram

Friday, November 8

Breakfast | Midway West

Registration | Midway West

Breakout Sessions

Civil Commitment and Forced Treatment: The “Compassionate” Evolution of the Drug War | Regency A

This panel will illustrate and strategize against a primary risk associated with a move away from criminalization: the expansion of coerced treatment. When the criminal justice system is removed as a tool to police the behaviors of marginalized people, other systems will step in – in many cases, the medical system. Panelists will touch on the history of deinstitutionalization, and in particular, the pendulum swing between forced care and incarceration. Experts will speak to current trends, including expansion of civil commitment, treatment courts, and the risks of coercion associated with force-friendly preparations of injectable medications, such as Vivitrol and injectable buprenorphine.

Moderator

Dionna King, Policy Manager, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY

Panelists

  • Erin Kerrison, Assistant Professor, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
  • Bethany Medley, Assistant Research Scientist, NYU College of Global Public Health, New York, NY
  • Julio Salazar Ramírez, Senior Lawyer, Mexico Unido Contra La Delincuencia, Mexico
  • Robert Riley II, Co-Founder, Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery, Des Peres, MO

Can Prosecutors End the Drug War? | Regency C

District attorneys’ offices have long served as champions of mass incarceration, but there is a growing movement to elect progressive candidates. These electoral races are now serving as a litmus test for the success of our ideas and messaging for public safety and community justice. How does this trend impact our work to end the drug war? What should drug policy reformers demand from a progressive prosecutor? What are the third-rail issues for progressive prosecutors when it comes to drug policy? What safeguards should we put in place to make sure we are not just increasing their power? What does accountability look like for prosecutors when we help build their campaign platforms?

Moderator

Kassandra Frederique, Managing Director, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY

Panelists

  • David Angel, Assistant District Attorney, County of Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
  • Monica Ault, Criminal Defense Attorney, Santa Fe, NM
  • Michael Collins, Strategic Policy and Planning Director, Baltimore City State's Attorney Office, Baltimore, MD
  • Akhi Johnson, Senior Program Associate, Reshaping Prosecution Program, Vera Institute of Justice, Washington, DC
  • David Menschel, Director, Vital Projects Fund, Portland, OR
  • Najja Morris, Director, LEAD National Support Bureau, Public Defender Association, Seattle, WA

Beyond Marijuana Legalization: The Legalization Conundrum and the War on Immigrants | Midway 6

From the inception of marijuana prohibition, it has been used to subjugate immigrants. Marijuana arrests have long been one of the leading causes of deportation for noncitizens. Even in states that have fully legalized marijuana, noncitizens remain vulnerable to harsh immigration-related penalties. How do we correct existing marijuana legalization laws to address the harms faced by noncitizens? How do we ensure that future marijuana policy reform efforts include provisions that account for these harms?

Moderator

Armando Gudiño, Policy Manager, Drug Policy Alliance, Los Angeles, CA

Panelists

  • Kathy Brady, Senior Staff Attorney, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, San Francisco, CA
  • Alejandra Pablos, Community Organizer and Storyteller, #KeepAleFree Deportation Defense Campaign, Tucson, AZ
  • Jeannette Zanipatin, State Director, California, Drug Policy Alliance, Los Angeles, CA

Mutual Aid Among Queer and Trans People Who Use Drugs: Creating a Framework for Liberation | Regency B

Many queer and trans people, people who use drugs, and those living at the intersection of both groups live in precarity and do not have a reliable social safety net when it comes to healthcare, housing and income. Both groups have practiced mutual aid as a way to meet individual and communal needs that have been neglected by the government. What could drug policy reform look like if we adopted mutual aid as a strategy to end the drug war? How can we share knowledge and expertise and participate fully in decision-making and care in our communities? How can the drug policy reform movement better address the needs of queer and trans people who use drugs?  How can we better connect the queer and trans liberation movements and the movement to end the drug war?

Moderator

Aliza Cohen, Research Associate, Department of Research and Academic Engagement, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY

Panelists

  • Rajani Gudlavalleti, Community Organizing Manager, Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition, Baltimore, MD
  • Emily K. Hobson, Associate Professor, University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV
  • Rebecca Keel, Policy Director, Marijuana Justice Virginia, Richmond, VA
  • Jawanza Williams, Director of Organizing, VOCAL-NY, Brooklyn, NY
     

Drug Courts: How Do They Relate to Decriminalization and Health-Centered Drug Policy? | Midway 5

In the three decades since treatment courts were first introduced, the drug court model has rapidly proliferated, while continuing to evolve alongside drug policy reform efforts. Have treatment courts adopted harm reduction principles? What does harm reduction programming look like in treatment courts today, such as the use of medication-assisted treatment? How has the treatment court system worked together with pre-booking diversion programs, specifically with the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) model, and how are treatment courts working with populations ineligible for most other programs? And, what role could drug courts serve as we move toward decriminalization of drug use and possession?

Moderator

Emily Kaltenbach, State Director, New Mexico, Drug Policy Alliance, Santa Fe, NM

Panelists

  • Courtney Allen, Lead Field Researcher, Colby College, Augusta, ME
  • Wesley Bell, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney, St. Louis, MO
  • William Delaney, Veteran Mentor, Rhode Island Veterans Treatment Court, Warwick, RI
  • Jason Lidyard, District Court Judge, First Judicial District of New Mexico, Santa Fe, NM
  • Terrence Walton, Chief Operating Officer, National Association of Drug Court Professionals, Alexandria, VA

Feature Plenary - Learning from the Local Landscape: Reality, Reform and Regeneration in St. Louis | Grand Ballroom

Lunch (On your own)

Off-site Tour - St. Louis Then & Now

Breakout Sessions

Better Have My Money: Fundraising Best Practices from the Field | Midway 5

You have brilliant ideas, your organization does amazing work, but it won’t pay for itself. You need money, money, and more money. So, what motivates people to donate? What’s up with giving circles, philanthropic networks, and donor-advised funds? What are foundations looking for these days? What should you prioritize as a fundraiser? Hear the answers from people on both sides of the coin – and come with questions for an extended Q-and-A session.

Moderator

Alexis Martin, Development Coordinator, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY

Panelists

  • Andrea Bichan, Communications and Development Director, VOCAL-NY, Brooklyn, NY
  • Khary Lazarre-White, Executive Director, The Brotherhood/Sister Sol, New York, NY
  • Jane Lerner, Donor Organizer, Movement Voter Project, Brooklyn, NY
  • Julie Wiegandt, Public Health Manager, Arnold Ventures, Washington, D.C.

Missouri's Approach to the Overdose Crisis: Medication First as a Parallel to Housing First | Regency A

What should states do with the billions of dollars from federal funding agencies to address the crisis of opioid-involved overdose deaths? In Missouri, advocates have prioritized the strategies we know save lives and help people find meaningful recovery – community naloxone distribution, complemented by a “Medication First” treatment approach aimed at reducing barriers to buprenorphine and methadone. How have they successfully activated recovery communities, provided safe housing, and tackled racial disparities through faith-based partnerships and street outreach? Come hear Missourians speak authentically about our rich experiences navigating government systems to change minds and save lives in the Heartland.

Moderator

Rachel Winograd, Associate Research Professor, University of Missouri, Missouri Institute of Mental Health, St. Louis, MO

Panelists

  • Ned Presnall, Clinical Social Worker, Clayton Behavioral, St. Louis, MO
  • Robert Riley II, Co-Founder, Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery, Des Peres, MO
  • Chad Sabora, Executive Director, Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery, Ballwin, MO
  • Kanika Turner, Physician, Family Care Health Center/Missouri State Opioid Response, Florissant, MO

What Are the New Politics of Marijuana in Congress? | Regency C

The question in Congress is no longer should we legalize marijuana, but how do we do it the right way? This session of Congress has seen myriad proposals to reform marijuana laws, but questions remain about how to prioritize them. What are the issues advocates must wrestle with in Congress as they push for reform?  Should we let the states decide, or get the feds involved in supporting equity and industry access? Should we pass incremental measures on banking and taxes first, or hold out for more comprehensive reforms? Do we start with Republicans in the Senate or work with Dems in the House to push the envelope? Is it in the best interests of justice and public health for the private industry model to proliferate, or should we also be pursuing other options like state-run models?  

Moderator

Michael Collins, Strategic Policy and Planning Director, Baltimore City State's Attorney Office, Baltimore, MD

Panelists

  • Queen Adesuyi, Policy Coordinator, Office of National Affairs, Drug Policy Alliance, Washington, D.C.
  • Kathy Brady, Senior Staff Attorney, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, San Francisco, CA
  • Amber Littlejohn, Senior Policy Advisor, Minority Cannabis Business Association, Washington, D.C.
  • Dan Riffle, Senior Policy Counsel, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Washington, D.C.
  • Justin Strekal, Political Director, NORML, Washington, D.C.

Getting Real About Structural Issues: How Can We Best Address Social Determinants? | Midway 6

Much of our energy in combating overdose and other drug problems focuses on intervening at the level of the individual, without ever addressing the upstream causes of problematic drug use and the criminalization of people who use drugs. This panel will explore how drug policy reformers can meaningfully engage in movements working to address social determinants, such as the fight for universal healthcare, basic income, affordable housing, and many others.

Moderator

Emily Kaltenbach, State Director, New Mexico, Drug Policy Alliance, Santa Fe, NM

Panelists

  • Lesly-Marie Buer, Research Director, Choice Health Network, Knoxville, TN
  • Erin Kerrison, Assistant Professor, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
  • Danielle Ompad, Associate Professor, NYU College of Global Public Health, New York, NY
  • Matthew Tice, Director of Clinical Services, Pathways to Housing PA, Philadelphia, PA
     

What's Next for Psychedelic Policy? | Regency B

How do efforts to medicalize and decriminalize psychedelics fit within the broader context of drug policy reform, especially current campaigns to implement Portugal-style drug decriminalization? How can we best maximize the effectiveness of emerging psychedelics-specific policy reform efforts that are sprouting up all over the U.S.? What can advocates for psychedelic policy reform learn from cannabis legalization and other recent criminal justice reforms? How do we account for the multi-generational, ongoing harms of psychedelic criminalization – and how do we begin to repair those harms?

Moderator

Ifetayo Harvey, Marketing Coordinator, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY

Panelists

  • Ismail Ali, Policy & Advocacy Counsel, MAPS, Oakland, CA
  • Mohawk Greene, Regional Coordinator/President, DanceSafe, New York, NY
  • Kufikiri Imara, Decriminalize Nature Oakland, Oakland, CA
  • Allie Willens, Community Organizer, Decriminalize Health, Larchmont, NY

Afternoon Break

Breakout Sessions

Drugs and Consent: How Sexual Assault Prevention and Harm Reduction Advocacy Come Together in Nightlife Work | Midway 5

The #MeToo movement has elevated the discussion in nightlife communities about sexual assault prevention and building a culture of consent. This work is aligned with harm reduction advocacy – what can the two movements learn from each other? How can we bring these conversations together, especially when it comes to the very tricky territory of consent and substance use?

Moderator

Stefanie Jones, Interim Managing Director, Communications, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY

Panelists

  • Sloane Ferenchak, #WeLoveConsent Intern, Volunteer, DanceSafe, Philadelphia, PA
  • Stacey Forrester, Education Coordinator, Good Night Out/Bass Coast Festival, Vancouver, Canada
  • Eric McGriff, Prevention Program Coordinator, Crime Victims Treatment Center, New York, NY
  • Jeremy Prillwitz, Counselor, The Stonewall Project, San Francisco, CA
  • Will Stolarski, Prevention Specialist, OutSmart NYC, Brooklyn, NY
  • Cristiana Vale Pires, Postdoctoral Researcher, Kosmicare Association, Porto, Portugal

A St. Louis Story: The Drug War, Racism and Police Violence | Regency A

The FBI ranks St. Louis as the most dangerous city in the U.S. and Missouri’s gun death rate is almost double the national average. For Black people, St. Louis can feel like a death trap. A Black man in St. Louis is almost ten times more likely to be murdered by a police officer than anyone around the nation being murdered by anyone else. Misguided drug policies, mis-education, racism, predatory policing, and systemic oppression have wreaked vast inter-generational harms on our communities. How is the war on drugs a catalyst for police killings? How did racist enforcement of the drug war light the sparks that ignited the Ferguson uprising?

Panelists

  • T-Dubb-O, Director, Hands Up United, St. Louis, MO
  • Tef Poe, Co-Founder, Hands Up United, Arlington, MA
  • Rika Tyler, Lead Organizer, Missouri Faith Voices, St. Louis, MO

Last Day Podcast: Live Taping and Town Hall | Regency C

Let’s talk about the opioid crisis, an issue that dominates news cycles and gets worse every day. Join Lemonada Media co-founders Stephanie Wittels Wachs, host of the Last Day podcast, and Jessica Cordova Kramer, Executive Producer, in conversation with notable community and policy leaders for a live, audience-driven town hall. Both Stephanie and Jessica lost their brothers to opioid overdoses, and are committed to engaging in open dialogue and a search for solutions.

Moderator

Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Host, Last Day Podcast, Lemonada Media, Minneapolis, MN

Panelists

  • Dinah Adames, Family Defense Supervisor, Bronx Defenders, Bronx, NY 
  • Miss Ian Callaghan, Executive Director, San Francisco Drug Users’ Union, San Francisco, CA
  • Tracey Helton, Author, “The Big Fix: Hope After Heroin,” Daly City, CA
  • Dionna King, Policy Manager, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY
  • Hansel Tookes, Assistant Professor, University of Miami, Miami, FL
  • Rachel Winograd, Associate Research Professor, University of Missouri, Missouri Institute of Mental Health, St. Louis, MO

The Overdose Crisis in Our Backyards: Can We Stop Calling It a White Overdose Crisis? | Midway 6

Media representations of the current overdose crisis have been overwhelmingly white and rural/suburban, leading the public and policy makers to allocate resources accordingly. Meanwhile, Black Americans have been dying at an alarming rate in many parts of the country – in fact, in Missouri, the Black opioid overdose death rate is twice as high as the white opioid overdose death rate. What do we know about the prevalence of overdose in Black communities across the U.S.? What factors have contributed to their rising overdose deaths and, in some cases, their higher rates of overdose? Where should the drug policy reform movement focus its attention to address these inequities?

Moderator

Kathie Kane-Willis, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Chicago Urban League, Chicago, IL

Panelists

  • Tracie Gardner, Vice President of Policy Advocacy, Legal Action Center, New York, NY
  • Samantha Kerr, Outreach Organizer, Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition, Baltimore, MD
  • Reverend Kenneth McKoy, Founder & Director of NightLIFE Ministries, St. Louis, MO
  • Devin Reaves, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Coalition, Barrington, NJ
  • Kanika Turner, Physician, Family Care Health Center/Missouri State Opioid Response, Florissant, MO

Is Housing the Answer to the Overdose Crisis? | Regency B

Solutions to problematic drug use are often couched as “treatment”. But, can treatment really be effective if the structural conditions underlying problematic use, such as poverty and homelessness, remain? This panel will push the conversation beyond “treatment” as we traditionally understand it and explore how investments in housing could have a far greater impact when it comes to preventing, reducing, and ameliorating the harms of problematic drug use.

Moderator

Lindsay LaSalle, Managing Director, Office of Law and Policy, Health, Drug Policy Alliance, Oakland, CA

Panelists

  • Geoff Bardwell, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dept. of Medicine, University of British Columbia; British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, Vancouver, Canada
  • Kristin Colangelo, Director, RHD Camden Supportive Housing, Collingswood, NJ
  • Abraham Gutman, Opinion Writer, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA
  • Valery Shuman, Senior Director, Heartland Alliance Health, Midwest Harm Reduction Institute, Chicago, IL
  • Matthew Tice, Director of Clinical Services, Pathways to Housing PA, Philadelphia, PA

Film Screening: Hands Up United & DPA present Grass is Greener | Grand Ballroom

Saturday, November 9

Breakfast | Midway West

Breakout Sessions

Decriminalization Done Right: Working Toward a Model Policy for Drug Use and Possession | Midway 5

Criminalization of drug use and possession has led to the arrest, prosecution, and incarceration of millions of people across the world. Faced with the social, health, and economic costs of criminalization, over 30 countries have enacted decriminalization policies, with Portugal being the most well-known. As we move toward decriminalization in the U.S., it’s important to learn from the models already in effect and start envisioning an ideal policy. What’s the best way to decriminalize drugs? What can we learn from what’s worked and what hasn’t in countries that have decriminalized? What would a model policy look like?

Moderator

Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, Executive Director, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY

Panelists

  • Niamh Eastwood, Executive Director, Release, London, UK
  • Maria-Goretti Ane, African Consultant, IDPC, Accra, Ghana
  • Alejandro Madrazo, Professor and Researcher, CIDE, Aguascalientes, Mexico
  • Marcus Keane, Head of Policy, Ana Liffey Drug Project, Dublin, Ireland

What Are the Challenges and Opportunities for Rural and Small Town Harm Reduction? | Regency A

Overdose rates in rural counties remain high and rural communities have distinct challenges and opportunities that are often overlooked in conversations about harm reduction and drug policy. What are innovative models for harm reduction provision in rural communities, particularly where stimulant- and fentanyl-involved overdoses are increasing? How can the drug policy reform movement ensure that the rural experience is included in its work and discussions?

Moderator

Monica Ault, Criminal Defense Attorney, Santa Fe, NM

Panelists

  • Alexandra Barcenas, Case Manager, Intercambios Puerto Rico, Fajardo, PR
  • Robert Childs, Technical Expert Lead, JBS International, Chattanooga, TN
  • Maya Doe-Simkins, Director of Communications, Chicago Recovery Alliance, Maple City, MI
  • Christopher Thomas, Overdose Prevention Coordinator, Sonoran Prevention Works, Tucson, AZ
  • Jess Tilley, Executive Director, New England Users Union/HRH413, Florence, MA
  • Sarah Ziegenhorn, Executive Director, Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition, Iowa City, IA

Repairing the Harms of Marijuana Prohibition | Regency C

The momentum to responsibly and equitably legalize marijuana has gained once-unthinkable public and political support. It is now a top priority for many advocates and legislators to repair the harms of prohibition through the creation of equity programs, job training, community reinvestment, and other measures. Judging from efforts already underway across the hemisphere, are the most ravaged communities being given the resources they need?  Or is reparative justice just another talking point? What more can be done to ensure that impacted individuals benefit from legalization? In what ways has legalization failed to reduce harms and what can be done to improve on current models?   

Moderator

Queen Adesuyi, Policy Coordinator, Office of National Affairs, Drug Policy Alliance, Washington, D.C.

Panelists

  • Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, Professor, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada 
  • Lanese Martin, Co-Founder, The Hood Incubator, Oakland, CA
  • Cat Packer, Executive Director, Department of Cannabis Regulation, City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
  • Emily Ramos, Founder, Worker-owner, ¡High Mi Madre!, New York, NY
  • Shaleen Title, Commissioner, Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, Boston, MA

The Moral Hazards of Drug Policy Research: How Do We Overcome Systemic Bias? | Midway 6

Drug policy research is used to justify both progressive and regressive drug policies. Recently, two high profile studies of dubious quality entered the debates over naloxone access and supervised consumption sites. A highly-publicized book, meanwhile, misrepresented the existing body of marijuana and mental health research. Concerns continue about the "diversion" of medications, particularly buprenorphine, that are then used to justify limiting access – despite research demonstrating diversion is not the "hazard" that many assume it is. This panel will explore the systemic constraints and biases in drug policy research, how shoddy research can get politicized by the media and policymakers, and what can be done to overcome these challenges.

Moderator

Sheila Vakharia, Deputy Director, Department of Research and Academic Engagement, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY

Panelists

  • Alex Kral, Distinguished Fellow, RTI International, San Francisco, CA
  • Maia Szalavitz, Journalist and Author, New York, NY
  • Hansel Tookes, Assistant Professor, University of Miami, Miami, FL
  • Karla Wagner, Associate Professor, University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV
  • Rachel Winograd, Associate Research Professor, University of Missouri, Missouri Institute of Mental Health, St. Louis, MO
     

Self Care for Activists | Regency B

As racial and social justice advocates, we strive to draw strength from intersectional movements past and present, while affirming one another in the face of hate and oppression. How do we manage stress, build community, and stay healthy while fighting the good fight? How can we acknowledge and reduce the harm that doing this work can cause, especially to those directly impacted? And how can we do it intentionally in a way that heals ourselves and our communities? This workshop aims to provide advocates with concrete self-care skills to sustain activism over the long haul.   

Trainer

Victoria Albina, Life Coach, Breathwork Facilitator, Nurse Practitioner, Victoria Albina Wellness, New York, NY

Morning Break

Breakout Sessions

Safety First Curriculum Training: A Hands-On Tour of DPA’s New Drug Education Program for High School Educators | Regency B

This dynamic and interactive workshop will provide educators, school administrators, counselors, and student wellness professionals with the information and skills to effectively implement DPA’s groundbreaking curriculum, “Safety First: Real Drug Education for Teens” in their school or district. Safety First is an evidence-based, harm reduction-based drug education program for high school students that has now been piloted and evaluated in New York City and San Francisco schools. Participants will learn about the principles of harm reduction and key harm reduction strategies to teach high schoolers about substance use in a knowledgeable and compassionate way.

Trainers

  • Cheryl Nelson, Health Teacher on Special Assignment, School Health Programs, San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco, CA
  • Joseph Rubin, Health Teacher, San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco, CA
  • Sasha Simon, Safety First Program Manager, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY

Harm Reduction: The Start of the Continuum of Care | Regency A

This session will focus on how we change the continuum of care for those with substance use disorder, using a recovery community center as the point of engagement. This hybrid recovery community center model combines harm reduction and recovery services, so that the continuum of care begins whether someone is interested in recovery or not. We will examine the data showing the lives saved when people have safe access to naloxone and clean injection supplies. And we’ll describe how this model functions as an effective access point for many people to multiple pathways to recovery.

Panelists

  • Lauren Green, Overdose Prevention Coordinator, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Institute of Mental Health, St. Louis, MO
  • Miles Hoffman, Street Outreach Coordinator, Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery, St. Louis, MO
  • Aaron Laxton, Therapist, Assisted Recovery Center of Americas, St. Louis, MO
  • Chad Sabora, Executive Director, Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery, Ballwin, MO
  • Lesley Weinstein, Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery, St. Louis, MO

Lobbying 101 | Midway 6

How does an idea become a law? This workshop will walk you through the legislative process and provide insights on how a bill becomes a law. We will hear directly from people who craft and grapple with state and federal legislation on how to be effective advocates for policy reform.

Trainers

  • Michael Collins, Strategic Policy and Planning Director, Baltimore City State's Attorney Office, Baltimore, MD
  • Mike Liszewski, Senior Regulatory Affairs Counsel, 4Front Ventures, Washington, D.C.
  • Dionna King, Policy Manager, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY
  • Charlotte Resing, Policy Analyst, ACLU Washington Legislative Office

Are Tobacco and Vaping the Next Frontier of Drug Prohibition? | Midway 5

Overblown panic about a teen vaping “epidemic” has increased restrictions for products in many jurisdictions even though e-cigarettes are a known harm reduction tool to curb adult cigarette smoking. Although public health arguments are often used to justify combustible smoking bans in settings such as public housing and in substance use treatment centers, the enforcement of such policies actually places the most vulnerable people – especially poor people and people of color – at even more risk for being homeless or getting discharged from treatment. Menthol bans, portrayed as a way to protect communities of color from the most harmful forms of cigarettes, instead prohibit an already-legal substance. Even though it is a legal market, the tobacco market is not one without violent and racist enforcement as demonstrated by the police killing of Eric Garner for allegedly selling ‘loosies.’ The panelists will discuss the complex ways in which cigarettes and e-cigarettes are the frontier for a new prohibition with all the old trappings.

Moderator

Sheila Vakharia, Deputy Director, Department of Research and Academic Engagement, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY

Panelists

  • Queen Adesuyi, Policy Coordinator, Office of National Affairs, Drug Policy Alliance, Washington, D.C.
  • Brooke Feldman, Philadelphia Center Manager, CleanSlate Outpatient Addiction Medicine, Glenside, PA
  • Kevin Garcia, Bilingual Medical Case Manager, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Aurora, CO
  • Ethan Nadelmann, Founding Executive Director, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY
  • Helen Redmond, Journalist and Filmmaker, Filter, New York, NY

Legalize ALL Drugs?! Exploring Options for Legal Regulation in a Post-Prohibition World | Regency C

The harms of prohibition are numerous and far-reaching: mass criminalization, significant levels of violence stemming from drug trafficking organizations and militarized state responses, and increased risk of negative health impacts and overdose associated with an unregulated, adulterated drug supply. How can we solve the problems of prohibition? Do we need to look beyond just drug decriminalization and cannabis regulation? Is legalizing drugs the answer? What regulatory tools would we have at our disposal in a legalized system that could help us better address the potential harms of both drug use and drug policies? What are the risks of legalizing drugs? Can we envision a truly post-prohibition world?

Moderator

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, Professor, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

Panelists

  • Scott Bernstein, Director of Policy, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, Vancouver, Canada
  • Zoe Dodd, Toronto Overdose Prevention Society/South Riverdale Community Health Centre, Toronto, Canada
  • Steve Rolles, Senior Policy Analyst, Transform, London, United Kingdom
  • Zara Snapp, Co-Founder, Instituto RIA, Mexico City, Mexico

Lunch (On your own)

Breakout Sessions

Activating People Who Sell Drugs as Harm Reductionists | Midway 5

Many people who sell drugs are already involved in harm reduction – for example, by carrying naloxone – but stigma, harsh criminal punishment, and lack of education get in the way of their full participation in harm reduction initiatives. What harm reduction practices are people who sell drugs already engaging in? In what ways could their participation be broadened or deepened? What barriers are currently limiting people who sell drugs from participating in harm reduction in a systemic way?  And how can these barriers be removed?

Moderator

Dionna King, Policy Manager, Drug Policy Alliance, New York, NY

Panelists

  • Mitchell Gomez, Executive Director, DanceSafe, Lakewood, CO
  • Steven Pacheco, Policy Coordinator, From Punishment to Public Health (P2PH), John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, NY
  • Chad Sabora, Executive Director, Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery, Ballwin, MO
  • Louise Vincent, Director, Urban Survivors Union, Greensboro, NC

The Power to Heal: Psychedelics and Healing Justice | Regency B

Healing justice is a term that comes from Black & Brown queer disability justice communities. How do we connect the work of a queer, disabled, black and indigenous people to the privileged spaces of psychedelics? As psychedelics begin to gain more attention in mainstream discourse and among scientists and researchers, questions of accessibility arise. Who has access to psychedelics and who stands to gain from the potential medicalization, decriminalization and legalization of psychedelics? Can there be a healing justice paradigm within the psychedelics movement?  How do we combat ableism among advocates for psychedelic reform? How can we utilize psychedelics as a tool of collective care, as opposed to just self-care?

Moderator

Oriana Mayorga, Director of Community Engagement, Psymposia, New York, NY

Panelists

  • Camille Barton, Director, RE: GENERATE, Berlin, Germany
  • Micah Hobbes Frazier, Facilitator/Somatic Healer, Trinitywolf Network, View Park, CA
  • Paula Kahn, Transnational Movement Building Strategist, Cosmovisiones Ancestrales, Reseda, CA
  • Omolewa (Jennifer) Thedford, Birth Doula and Entheogenic Midwife, Sweet Serenity Co., Mount Clemens, MI

The Fourth Wave: What's Next for Stimulant Harm Reduction Policy? | Midway 6

The latest national data show that cocaine-involved overdoses have more than doubled and methamphetamine-involved overdoses have increased by over 80% in the past several years. And in some parts of the country, stimulant drugs are now actually driving the majority of overdose deaths. How does the ongoing framing of the crisis as an ‘opioid crisis’ ignore the distinct reality of polysubstance use and stimulant use on the ground? Which policies do we need to advocate for to capture this important nuance?

Moderator

Michael Collins, Strategic Policy and Planning Director, Baltimore City State's Attorney Office, Baltimore, MD

Panelists

  • Allison Barker, Research Assistant / Support Worker, BC Centre of Substance Use / Raincity Housing, Vancouver, Canada
  • Alex Locust, Counselor and Coordinator, San Francisco AIDS Foundation, San Francisco, CA
  • Rafaela Rigoni, Researcher, Utrecht University/Mainline, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Steve Rolles, Senior Policy Analyst, Transform, London, United Kingdom

Missouri's New Medical Marijuana Law | Regency A

Missouri voters overwhelmingly endorsed medical marijuana in November of 2018, passing Amendment 2, now Article XIV of the Missouri Constitution, with 66% of the vote. There were an unprecedented two additional medical marijuana initiatives on the same ballot, but voters endorsed the measure that was in the best interest of patients and the creation of a stable industry to serve those patients. This panel features board members of the New Approach Missouri, which drafted Article XIV and led the successful campaign for its passage, as well as others with important perspectives on the challenges Missouri faces in implementing and expanding this new law.

Moderator

Dan Viets, Lawyer, New Approach Missouri/NORML, Columbia, MO

Panelists

  • Jamie Kacz, Board Secretary, New Approach Missouri, Kansas City, MO
  • Beverly Moran, Professor, Vanderbilt Law School, Nashville, TN
  • John Payne, Campaign Manager, New Approach Missouri, St. Louis, MO
  • Megan Wilson, Attorney, Wilson Compliance Consulting, St, Louis, MO

Program

Having Faith in Harm Reduction | Regency C

Organizing to address the harms of the war on people who use drugs requires the work of many communities, building power together. Faith communities are inherently well organized, have strong community ties, and are natural harm reduction advocates given the overlap in values between harm reduction and religious philosophies. This panel will share how faith communities have organized to drive change and contribute to criminal justice and drug policy reform.

Moderator

Hiawatha Collins, Harm Reduction Community Mobilization Coordinator, Harm Reduction Coalition, New York, NY

Panelists

  • Blyth Barnow, Harm Reduction Faith Manager, Faith in Public Life, Pickerington, OH
  • Christina Dent, Founder, End It For Good, Ridgeland, MS
  • Pastor Kenneth Glasgow, The Ordinary People Society, Dothan, AL
  • Reverend Kenneth McKoy, Founder & Director of NightLIFE Ministries, St. Louis, MO
  • Erica Poellot, Director of Faith and Community Partnerships, Harm Reduction Coalition, Bronx, NY

Afternoon Break

Closing Plenary | Grand Ballroom