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Physicians and Lawyers for National Drug Policy will take the lessons and strategies learned from the original Physician Leadership on National Drug Policy to build a stable and sustainable bridge between law and medicine. The new PLNDP intends to:

  • Provide a non-partisan platform for expressing and disseminating informed, evidence-based professional opinion on policies and practices relating to substance abuse.
  • Present a balanced, scientifically grounded perspective, and thereby provide a voice now missing from the highly polarized debate on drug policy.
  • Harness the energies and resources of lawyers and physicians to promote public education and improved policy and practice.

The PLNDP leadership is officially comprised of nationally recognized lawyers and physicians, but PLNDP will informally involve additional individuals and organizations that share its objectives. During the next two years, PLNDP will:

PLNDP has united leaders from law and medicine to move policy and practice in a direction that reflects the following perspectives:

  • The United States should embrace a stable, evidence-based, long-term strategy for controlling what is, and will continue to be, an endemic health problem with major impacts at many levels of society, taking account of the costs and benefits of every policy instrument deployed.
  • Drug policy should reflect a public health approach to the prevention and treatment of substance abuse and should avoid excessive reliance on criminal enforcement and disproportionate punishment.
  • The benefits of treatment to individuals, their families and communities are well documented and promising new research is likely to produce even more effective approaches.
  • Physicians and other health care providers should be able to treat addicted individuals without undue impediments; insurance and health plans should cover the costs of treatment; and the legal system should help to identify people in need of treatment and should facilitate effective interventions.
  • Understanding that addiction is a disease does not absolve addicted persons of responsibility for their behavior, but their addiction should be given strong weight in mitigation of punishment, and as a basis for diversion from the criminal justice system.
  • Sending addicted people to prison does not, by itself, help them recover and the collateral consequences associated with a criminal record create enormous barriers to effective recovery.
  • Reliance on local initiatives should be a key element of national drug policy.