New National Drug Policy “Think and Do” Tank Forming to Offer Bold Solutions to the Addiction Crisis Facing America

(New York, NY) The Foundation for Drug Policy Solutions (FDPS), a new, transformative, global 501(c)(3) “think and do” tank launching today at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, has been formed in response to the raging addiction crisis and the arcane complications to supporting population-level policies aimed at reducing substance use initiation and disorder.

The launch, which will be live streamed here at 4:00pm ET today, will feature former ONDCP Deputy Drug Czar and First NYPD Deputy Commissioner Ben Tucker, Washington State Representative Lauren Davis, former US Attorney Billy Williams, NAACP IL President Teresa Haley, representatives from the US Department of Health and Human Services, the US Department of State, and several other dignitaries.

As its mission, the Foundation will research, promote, and educate on promising policies, strategies, and practices that make population-level change aimed at saving lives and advancing health and justice in communities across the country.

“Our current addiction crisis is unprecedented, and it requires an unprecedented response. Ironically, an independent, non-partisan, comprehensive drug policy organization focusing on bold solutions to the drug crisis in the United States does not currently exist. We intend to change that by advancing proven policy solutions to prevent drug use before it starts and get people into recovery when it does,” said Kevin Sabet, a three-time White House drug policy advisor and Co-founder and CEO of the Foundation. “The Foundation will bring together the latest research and the highest-level expertise from those on the front lines of successful public health and public safety models that we will use to inform lawmakers and the public.”

“I’m proud of joining the Foundation as a senior advisor,” said NAACP Illinois President Teresa Haley. “The work of effective and equitable drug policy is sorely needed.”

Officially launching at the Clinton Global Initiative on September 19th with an announcement by former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, the FDPS will develop and promote a Blueprint for Effective Drug Policy, which will act as a policy guide for lawmakers and citizens who want to change the trajectory of drug use outcomes in America. FDPS will represent a unifying force in the substance use field and has already acquired several smaller organizations that will act as divisions of the new organization, including the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws, the former President’s Commission on Model State Drug Laws, and the Rosenthal Center for Addiction Studies, founded by Phoenix House visionary Mitch Rosenthal.  

“We’re committed to promoting big ideas that make big changes. The time for short-term, nearsighted strategies has come and gone, having failed countless Americans along the way. Today’s addiction epidemic demands we do more,” said Luke Niforatos, Co-founder and Executive Vice President of the FDPS. “Our work includes civic engagement, systematically building and reworking America’s existing addiction policy ecosystem, and supporting institutions that prioritize ending addiction, not enabling it.”

The Foundation is being staffed in part by several members of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). SAM, founded in 2013 in Denver, having grown to be the premier marijuana policy organization in the country, will remain an independent organization with a separate board.


Talking Points:

  • People have a right to a world in which children and families thrive, substance use is prevented, and there is rapid access to quality treatment and meaningful pathways to recovery for individuals with substance use disorders.
  • Drug policy solutions must be scaled up by educating decision makers and the public about ways to harness science to prevent drug use, treat addiction, and forge pathways to recovery.
  • The Foundation will create a Blue-Ribbon Panel for its Blueprint, as well as invite the public to comment during consultation periods around the U.S. in 2022-2023.
  • Success will be measured by the production of the Blueprint, the willingness of the field to adopt its recommendations, and the inclusion of these proposed actions and goals in mainstream public policy in the U.S. and beyond. Specific metrics will include media impressions and mentions, number of laws proposed and approved, and population-level change in substance use initiation and disorder rates in areas where these policies are adopted.
  • An extensive process, with experts and people affected on the ground alike, is needed to create a Blueprint for Effective Drug Policy—effectively a strategy to guide our education and advocacy efforts.
  • Specific topics will include: prevention; treatment, risk reduction, and recovery; enforcement; supply reduction and internal cooperation; and other social policies.

Selected Leadership:

  • Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy
  • Former White House advisor Kevin Sabet (CEO)
  • Former ONDCP Deputy Drug Czar and First NYPD Dep Commissioner Ben Tucker
  • Mercer Consulting President Emeritus and Planned Parenthood Leadership Council Member James W. Down
  • Washington State Representative Lauren Davis
  • Former White House Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey
  • Former DEA Administrator Karen Tandy 
  • Former HHS Assistant Secretary Howard Koh
  • NAACP IL President Teresa Haley
  • Harvard University Professor and Recovery Research Institute Director John Kelly
  • Former US Attorney Bill Williams
  • Former US Attorney Bob Troyer
  • Former Deputy Drug Czar and Head of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Hoover Adger
  • CDC Foundation former President and UPS CEO Emeritus Kent “Oz” Nelson
  • Former DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart
  • Phoenix House Founder Dr. Mitch Rosenthal 
  • Several others

About the Foundation for Drug Policy Solutions

The Foundation for Drug Policy Solutions is a national drug policy think/action tank whose vision is a world in which children and families thrive, substance use is prevented, and there is rapid access to quality treatment. From prevention and recovery to smart law enforcement and better international cooperation, we are working to change the face of drug policy. Too many people are losing their lives to addiction. It is time for big change.