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September 23, 2018
Two exciting DEPC events this coming week
In separate prior posts here and here, I noted two substantive events scheduled this week involving the new OSU Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (which I help direct). I am quite excited about both events, the first of which is in DC on Sept 25, the second of which is in Columbus on Sept 27 to 28. Here are the titles of the events, descriptions, and links to registration pages:
"Laboratories of Democracy: Drug Policy In The United States" (September 25 in Washington, DC):
Drug use and substance abuse are circumstances that no longer impact only a small percentage of our population. In 2016, over 20 million Americans dealt with a substance use disorder, and the CDC estimates that more than 10 percent of the American population use some form of illegal drug each month. The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that 58 percent of those in state prisons and 63 percent of those sentenced to state jails meet the medical criteria for drug dependence or abuse.
The Ohio State University’s newly established Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC), with support from the Charles Koch Foundation, will host Laboratories of Democracy: Drug Policy in the United States. This important event will bring together leading academics, members of law enforcement, policymakers, think tank scholars, community advocates, media figures, and other influencers from different spheres and perspectives to discuss the diverse and challenging policy questions that have emerged in the drug policy area.
The event will be held at The Willard InterContinental in Washington, DC on September 25, 2018 from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm. The experts speaking at this event have used their knowledge to propose positive drug policy solutions to tackle the difficult problems faced by our country, and the program will engage attendees in an action-oriented discussion on how our country can move forward with positive solutions to addiction and substance abuse.
"From Punishment to Public Health: Embracing Evidence-Based Solutions to End the Overdose Crisis" (September 27-28 in Columbus, OH):
This conference aims to explore the impact of criminal justice laws and policies in compounding drug use harms, including overdose deaths, and offer an alternative framework for addressing problematic drug use and drug-related fatalities that is rooted in evidence, compassion, and the principles of harm reduction.
The country is in the middle of a tragic increase in drug overdose deaths and Ohio is at the epicenter of the overdose crisis. According to new preliminary estimates for 2017 from the Center for Disease Control, the country has suffered a record 72,000 overdose deaths, with Ohio’s rate of overdose deaths increasing by more than 17%. In 2016, Ohio ranked second in the nation in drug overdose death rates (at 39.1 per 100,000) and third in the nation in total number of deaths (4,329). Ohio is losing nearly 12 citizens each day to a drug overdose.
Responses to the overdose crisis across the nation and within the state have been mixed. There has been a renewed emphasis on treatment, expanded access to the overdose antidote naloxone, and the passage of Good Samaritan laws that offer protection to those calling for help during an overdose. Health officials in Ohio are even engaging in serious discussions of previously-taboo harm reduction interventions, such as drug checking strips. Nonetheless, use of the criminal justice system continues to dominate local, state, and federal responses to increasing rates of opioid use and overdose. Ohio, for instance, charges more people with manslaughter for delivery of a controlled substance resulting in death than any other state except one. Local and state elected officials have proposed legislation that would increase penalties for fentanyl, create a specific drug-induced homicide offense, and refuse medical assistance after a third overdose. Resources for supply side interventions are dwarfing those dedicated to evidence-based interventions like community-based naloxone or syringe exchange.
In this conference hosted by the Drug Policy Alliance, Ohio State University Moritz College of Law Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, Harm Reduction Ohio, and ACLU-Ohio along with partners Harm Reduction Coalition, The Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health and the Ohio State College of Public Health, we will explore why a public health approach to problematic drug use and overdose is critical to reducing needless deaths and other harms and why punitive measures can be counterproductive and destructive. Local, national, and international expert panelists will articulate why and how we can reverse course in our response to the overdose crisis by embracing and applying evidence and the principles of harm reduction rather than principles of punishment. In so doing, panelists will also dispel common myths about what is effective and what is not based on research, science, and experience.
September 23, 2018 at 01:22 PM | Permalink