FSDP at the 2015 International Drug Policy Reform Conference

Families for Sensible Drug Policy (FSDP) was excited to be a part of the 2015 International Drug Policy Reform Conference November 18-21 in the Washington DC metro area.

Convened bi-annually by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), this year’s Reform Conference was the biggest ever, bringing together 1500 people from over 70 countries. FSDP had an exhibit table sponsored by Practical Recovery, offering us the opportunity to educate attendees about our work and connect with national and global organizations to explore collaboration possibilities.

DPA’s Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann’s keynote speech acknowledged the drug policy reform movement’s progress so far and challenged us to raise the bar by framing the drug policy reform movement as first and foremost a human rights movement. Co-founder Carol Beyer and I came away from the conference with a clearer understanding about the need for FSDP to continue projects that will reduce the harmful consequences of the drug war on our communities by  the effects on our communities that include the intersection of mass incarceration, poverty, race, class, and gender.

A highlight for us was attending National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW)‘s Community Session where Executive Director Lynn Paltrow and her staff shared their work protecting the rights of women whose lives and their families were destroyed by oppressive drug policies. We learned how some child welfare systems participate in this destruction by incorrectly correlating parenting ability and substance use.

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I had the honor of being on several panels, including the Youth Policy track panel, “What’s a Parent to Do When Youthful Experimentation Goes Awry”,  where I offered a harm reduction approach to parenting teens. (at left)

11041095_1201694879847149_8234006082981402586_nWe were asked to participate on a panel at the screening of the film “The Business of Recovery”,  (at right) (cncncncncncncncncncncncncncncncncncncncncnxmxmxmxmxmxmxmxmxmxmxmxmxmxmxmxmxmxmx

Co-Founder Carol Katz Beyer and I had a pre-panel pow-wow with Jerry Otero, DPA’s Youth Policy Manager (below right); and harm reduction pioneer Patt Denning, co-author of Over The Influence, stopped by our booth to share the latest news on ways our families and I had tion 12249884_10205230064253502_4263772189323238639_ntreatment pioneers  and xlxlxlxlxlxlxlxlxlxlxlxlxlxxlxlxlxlxlxlxlxIMG_1817

 

 

 

FSDP hosted a Community Session, “Bringing Communities Together: Family-Centered Harm Reduction and Drug Policy for the 21st Century” and participated in the “Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment Providers for Sensible Drug Policy Town Hall Meeting”, hosted byDr. Andrew Tatarsky and Douglas Greene.

We look forward

2015 International Reform Conference

FSDP President and Co-founder Barry Lessin will be speaking on several panels at the Drug Policy Alliance’s 2015 International Reform Conference, November 18-21, 2015, a biennial event that brings together people from around the world who believe that the war on drugs is doing more harm than good. It brings together over 1,000 attendees representing 30 different countries.

FSDP will have an exhibit booth and sponsor a Community Session for attendees and FSDP community members to gather and network to share our vision for how drug policy reform can empower families.

2015 International Reform Conference

Bringing Communities Together

We are bringing communities together to create a new vision and approach to help those who confront substance use and mental health issues every day.

Our inaugural event, “Bringing Communities Together: A New Vision for Helping Individuals and Families Impacted by Substance Use and Mental Health Issues”, convened in New York City in September 2015, was a highly acclaimed collaboration of friends, family and internationally-lauded professionals coming together for a panel discussion and town hall-style meeting focusing on these issues impact individuals and their families.

bringing communities together

Transforming Trauma into Recovery

Harm reduction psychotherapy affords us the opportunity to empower people by engaging people’s strengths and tap into their resilience to not only develop a healing path for themselves but also, if they choose to, for their family.

Here’s an article that describes my work with a woman in individual treatment and how she was able to apply her progress in treatment to overcome barriers and positively impact her role as a mother with her substance using son.

I’m curious about some of the barriers our community members have faced/ are facing in working to improve family relationships?

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Helping Teens with Substance Use Problems: Why I Changed My Approach

The future of SUD treatment will acknowledge that teens’ and young adults’ substance use is not assumed to be a disease process but occurs in the context of normal adolescent development. Treatment will focus on helping young people develop strategies and skills to make healthier choices and manage their emotions more effectively.

Family therapy will be a part of treatment where appropriate to empower parents and offer a road map for them to be more effective parents going forward.

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9 Common Questions About a Drug That Saves Lives

One of the reasons I became involved in drug policy reform was because young people in my practice began dying from accidental overdose–this was alarming, but what was unacceptable to me was that there were few answers as to why.

Many states now have some form of naloxone access legislation as well as a 911 Good Samaritan law that will grant at least limited immunity for people calling 911 to report an overdose.

Unfortunately, there are still many barriers to actually implementing naloxone access programs. Here’s an article I wrote to explain some of these barriers and how individuals and families can overcome them:

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