(6 CEU Live Webinar) Decriminalization of Drugs in NJ: A Dialogue

Tuesday, November 09 2021 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM [EST]

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Tuesday, November 09 2021 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM [EST]

Free!  6 Ethics or Social/Cultural credits. 

In 2001, Portugal became the first country in the world to decriminalize the consumption of all drugs.  Twenty years on, the U.S. is suffering its worst addiction epidemic in American history. In 2016 alone, an estimated 64,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses—more than the combined death tolls for Americans in the Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq Wars, a number exceedingly surpassed in 2020 with 93,331 overdose deaths. 

In Portugal, meanwhile, the drug-induced death rate has plummeted to five times lower than the E.U. average at 6 per million, compared to the United States' 315 per million. Its rate of HIV infection has dropped from 104.2 new cases per million in 2000 to 4.2 cases per million in 2015. Drug use has declined overall among the 15- to 24-year-old population, those most at risk of initiating drug use.

Join NASW-NJ, our sponsor, The College of New Jersey, and a national and international panel of experts for this riveting conversation.

Topics to include:  

History of the Racist War on Drugs & Proposed Policy Solutions

Antiracist Addiction Treatment Requires Decriminalization & Harm Reduction         

The Future of Decriminalization in New Jersey

                                          

Panelists

Sandy Gibson, PhD, LCSW, LCADC, Professor, TCNJ

Sheila P. Vakharia, PhD, Policy Manager, Office of Academic Engagement, Drug Policy Alliance

Jenna Mellor, Executive Director, Harm Reduction New Jersey

Rev. Charles Boyer, Pastor of Bethel A.M.E. church, and Founder of Salvation and Social Justice

Andrew Tatarsky, PhD, Founder and Director of the Center for Optimal Living

Kasia Malinowska, PhD, MSW, Director of the Global Drug Policy Program at the Open Society Foundation

Nuno Capaz, PhD, and Head of the Dissuasion Commission, Portugal

Tera Hurst, BSW, Executive Director, Oregon Health Justice Recovery Alliance

Jennifer Oliva, JD, MBA, Associate Professor of Law, Seton Hall University

NASW-NJ

www.naswnj.org

For more information, contact Helen French at: 732-993-7311 or hfrench.naswnj@socialworkers.org

Contact the Organizer

Sandy Gibson, PhD, LCSW
Professor, TCNJ

Dr. Gibson is a Professor and Clinical Coordinator in the Department of Counselor Education at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). Prior to her time with TCNJ she was a community-based addiction counselor in the Washington DC area for five years, followed by seven years writing addiction-related grants and directing research studies for Temple University, and four years directing her own social research company. She joined the TCNJ Counselor Education faculty in 2011. Dr. Gibson co-directs the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center with Dr. Stuart Roe, serving Mercer County community members who are convicted of a DUI. This program allows Counselor Education students the opportunity to provide community-based psychoeducation, as well as clinically screen IDRC attendees to referrals for assessments. She recently developed new curriculum for this program that will now be used statewide in all IDRC programs. Her current scholarly activities focus on harm reduction strategies to reduce overdose deaths, with a specific focus on safe injection rooms, fentanyl testing strip and needle exchange use. Dr. Gibson frequently includes students in her research, co-authoring publications and co-presenting at state, national and international conferences.

About Sandy Gibson, PhD, LCSW

Professor, TCNJ
Sheila Vakharia
Deputy Director of the Department of Research and Academic Engagement for the Drug Policy Alliance

Deputy Director of the Department of Research and Academic Engagement for the Drug Policy Alliance. In that role, she helps DPA staff and others understand a range of drug policy issues while also responding to new studies with critiques and analysis. She plans conferences and convenings on cutting edge issues in the area of drugs, drug research, and harm reduction. Additionally, she is responsible for cultivating relationships with researchers from a wide range of disciplines aligned with DPA’s policy interests and working to mobilize academics in service of DPA policy campaigns. Prior to joining DPA, Dr. Vakharia was an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Long Island University, and had also worked as a clinical social worker in both abstinence-only and harm reduction settings. Her research interests include harm reduction therapy, drug policy reform, drug user stigma, overdose prevention, and social work education. She is currently on the Board of Directors of HAMS Harm Reduction Network and Filter magazine. She has written op-eds for the Philadelphia Inquirer on the overdose crisis and NY Daily News on drug-induced homicide laws and stimulants. Dr. Vakharia earned her doctorate at Florida International University’s School of Social Work. She received her Master’s in Social Work from Binghamton University and a Post-Master’s Certificate in the Addictions from New York University.

About Sheila Vakharia

Deputy Director of the Department of Research and Academic Engagement for the Drug Policy Alliance
Jenna Mellor Mellor, MPA
Executive Director of the New Jersey Harm Reduction Coalition

Jenna Mellor, MPA is the Executive Director of the New Jersey Harm Reduction Coalition. Jenna has over ten years of experience at the intersection of direct service and public policy. She previously served as the Associate Director at Point Source Youth, aide to Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Outreach Manager at HIPS, and has advised the New Jersey Department of Health on harm reduction best practices. Jenna holds a BA from Harvard College and recently completed her Master's in Public Affairs at Princeton, focusing on drug and housing policies that promote public health and human dignity. She is a proud product of Atlantic County and lover of the Pine Barrens.

About Jenna Mellor Mellor, MPA

Executive Director of the New Jersey Harm Reduction Coalition
The Reverend Dr. Charles Franklin Boyer
Founder of Salvation and Social Justice

The Reverend Dr. Charles Franklin Boyer is a third-generation African Methodist Episcopal preacher. He is the Pastor of Greater Mount Zion AME Church in Trenton, and the founder of Salvation and Social Justice, a non-partisan Black faith-rooted organization that believes liberation should precede legislation and prophetic vision should precede public policy. Nationally, he has represented the Social Action Commission of the A.M.E. Church in several capacities including, the United States Senate regarding solitary confinement, and the House of Representatives for gun violence. Dr. Boyer also co-authored the Anti-Poverty Network’s Report, “The Uncomfortable Truth: Racism, Injustice and Poverty in New Jersey.” Dr. Boyer is a leading faith voice in the New Jersey for racial justice issues. He works closely with the Black Legislative Caucus and is a co-convener of the United Black Agenda. He is New Jersey’s leading religious figure in the campaign to abolish the drug war, isolated confinement, and the criminalization of Black people. Rev. Boyer has been recognized as one of New Jersey’s 25 most influential African Americans by the South Jersey Journal, a Game Changer by the NAACP, a Torch Bearer by the ACLU, a Movement Maker by NJ Working Families, and a Community Servant by NJ Citizen Action. He has been recognized by the NJ Work Environment Council and received the Making Democracy Work award by the League of Women Voters. He was named #4 on the “Twenty-Five People to Watch in 2019” by NJ Advanced Media for his work around the police accountability. He is married to Rosalee and they have three children; Shaina, Kyle, and Jayden. More than anything, Rev. Boyer is passionate about the spiritual disciplines especially prayer and meditation. He rises early every morning to commune with God and seek guidance. His favorite scripture is Psalms 27:13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed, that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

About The Reverend Dr. Charles Franklin Boyer

Founder of Salvation and Social Justice
Andrew Tatarsky, PhD
Founder and Director of the Center for Optimal Living

Andrew Tatarsky, PhD is an internationally recognized leader in the treatment of problematic substance use and other potentially risky behaviors. He has specialized in the field of substance use treatment for 35 years working as a counselor, psychologist, program director, trainer, advocate and author. He has devoted his career to developing a comprehensive psychobiosocial understanding of the broad spectrum of substance use problems and an integrative harm reduction psychotherapy approach to treating this spectrum. This treatment is described in his book, Harm Reduction Psychotherapy: A New Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Problems, and several professional papers that extend the approach. The book has been released in paperback and Kindle, published in Poland by the Polish Office of Drug Prevention and has been translated into Spanish and is available in a free pdf. Dr. Tatarsky is Founder and Director of the Center for Optimal Living in NYC, a treatment and professional training center based on Integrative Harm Reduction Therapy (IHRP) for the spectrum of substance misuse and other high-risk behaviors. He earned his doctorate in clinical psychology from the City University of New York and is a graduate of New York University's Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. He is a member of the medical and clinical advisory panels to the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services of New York State. Dr. Tatarsky is a founding member and twice past-president of the Division on Addiction of New York State Psychological Association.

About Andrew Tatarsky, PhD

Founder and Director of the Center for Optimal Living
Dr. Jeffrey Steen, PhD, LCSW
Associate Research Scientist at the New York University Silver School of Social Work

Dr. Jeffrey Steen, PhD, LCSW, is an Associate Research Scientist at the New York University Silver School of Social Work, where he also earned his doctorate. During his doctoral studies, he was a predoctoral fellow in the Behavioral Sciences Training Program in Drug Abuse Research, a NIDA-funded T32 program affiliated with New York University. Jeffrey was contributing investigator with the Social Workers’ Self-Reported Wellness study, which examined the health and workplace experiences of over 6,000 licensed social workers. With colleagues Drs. Lala Straussner and Evan Senreich, he has published several papers and presented widely on study findings, and is presently preparing a book proposal to disseminate additional study results. Additional information about the study is available at: https://wp.nyu.edu/socialworkers. Dr. Steen is also working with Drs. Martin Downing and Ellen Benoit on the Giving Men a Voice study, a mixed methods project which explores childhood sexual experiences and current wellbeing among Black and Latino MSM and the ability of their service providers to respond to these issues. Dr. Steen is a licensed clinical social worker, with professional experience in clinical and administrative roles in behavioral health settings, including housing programs and health centers. He will share his own lived experience regarding his recovery from meth addiction as he detailed in Filter Magazine, What recovery from meth addiction taught me about harm reduction. Jeffrey is currently an adjunct instructor at the Audrey Cohen School for Human Services and Education at Metropolitan College of New York and the School of Social Work at Simmons University.

About Dr. Jeffrey Steen, PhD, LCSW

Associate Research Scientist at the New York University Silver School of Social Work
Kalia Malinowska, PhD, MSW
Director of the Global Drug Policy Program at the Open Society Foundation

Kasia Malinowska, PhD, MSW is the director of the Global Drug Policy Program at the Open Society Foundations, which promotes drug policies rooted in human rights, social justice, and public health. She previously led the Open Society’s International Harm Reduction Development program, which supports the health and human rights of people who use drugs. Before joining the Open Society Foundations, she worked for the United Nations Development Program in New York and Warsaw, leading capacity building and drug and HIV policy reform in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Dr. Malinowska publishes regularly on drug policy as it relates to women, social justice, health, human rights, civil society, and governance. Her academic publications include works in the Lancet, the British Medical Journal, and the International Journal on Drug Policy. Dr. Malinowska holds an MSW from the University of Pennsylvania and a DrPH from Columbia University.

About Kalia Malinowska, PhD, MSW

Director of the Global Drug Policy Program at the Open Society Foundation
Tera Hurst
Executive Director of Oregon Health Justice Recovery Alliance.

Tera Hurst is a leader devoted to sustainability and supporting people in recovery in Oregon. She is currently the Executive Director of Oregon Health Justice Recovery Alliance. Previously she was the Executive Director of Renew Oregon, where she successfully worked with the Governor, State Legislature, community groups, foundations, and business to pass the most ambitious climate action in Oregon's history. In 2020, Tera ran for Portland City Council to advocate for more effective policies to support people in recovery and to make Portland a model for a sustainable city. Previously, Tera served as the Chief of Staff for the Mayor of Portland and in leadership roles in the Oregon State Legislature.

About Tera Hurst

Executive Director of Oregon Health Justice Recovery Alliance.
Nuno Capaz
Portuguese Ministry of Health’s Dissuasion Commissions

Nuno Capaz has been working for the Portuguese Ministry of Health’s Dissuasion Commissions since they were created in 2001. These boards were created to apply Portugal’s decriminalization law. As such, he is a member of an interdisciplinary team that evaluates drug users. He has also been in charge of correspondence with foreign delegations seeking information and research about the Portuguese model for drug policy.

About Nuno Capaz

Portuguese Ministry of Health’s Dissuasion Commissions
Jennifer Oliver, JD, MBA
Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development, Professor of Law, and Director of the Center for Health & Pharmaceutical Law at Seton Hall Law

Jennifer D. Oliva, JD, MBA is the Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development, Professor of Law, and Director of the Center for Health & Pharmaceutical Law at Seton Hall Law where she specializes in health law, food and drug law and policy, evidence, and complex litigation. An honors graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, Professor Oliva was a Public Interest Law Scholar and served as Executive Notes & Comments Editor of The Georgetown Law Journal. Prior to attending law school, she earned an MBA at the University of Oxford. She was elected a Rhodes and Truman Scholar while a cadet at the United States Military Academy. After law school, Professor Oliva served as a federal appellate law clerk to the Honorable Stephanie K. Seymour on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and the Honorable Thomas L. Ambro on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She was subsequently appointed Deputy State Solicitor of the State of Delaware by then-Attorney General Beau Biden. Professor Oliva has worked in the appellate and health/FDA law practice groups at national law firms and served as the General Counsel and Vice President of a regional behavioral health care company. She is a United States Army veteran and was admitted to the bar in Delaware, California, and the District of Columbia. She also is admitted to numerous federal district and appellate courts, including the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the United States Supreme Court. Her work has been published by or is forthcoming in the California Law Review, Duke Law Journal, Northwestern University Law Review, Ohio State Law Journal, Washington Law Review, North Carolina Law Review, and online companion to the University of Chicago Law Review.

About Jennifer Oliver, JD, MBA

Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development, Professor of Law, and Director of the Center for Health & Pharmaceutical Law at Seton Hall Law
Izetta Briggs-Bolliing, DSW, LCSW, LMHC, CASAC (A)-G, MAC
Harm Reduction Psychotherapist at Center for Optimal Living and CEO of Addiction Cycle Breakers

Dr. Bolling holds a Doctoral degree in Social Work, is a licensed Clinical Social Worker, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and has a CASAC-A credential with a specialization in problem gambling treatment. Dr. Bolling has worked in a variety of clinical settings focusing on the needs of individuals with mental health, substance use, and physical health concerns for close to 3 decades. Dr. Bolling has a strong desire to learn and understand each person’s individual strengths and challenges in the therapeutic relationship. This therapist fosters healing relationships and positive support networks by facilitating curriculum-based groups which address the importance of mental, physical, and emotional wellness. Most recently, the focus of Dr. Bolling’s career has been to assist medical and mental health organizations with the integration of substance use and Medication Assisted Treatment services. The primary focus of her work is to reduce the harmful impact of the Opioid epidemic, and other substances of abuse on individuals, families and communities. Her goal is to assist people in addressing all psycho-social concerns pertaining to behavioral health in an inclusive, non-judgmental manner to promote optimum health and wellness.

https://www.centerforoptimalliving.com/

About Izetta Briggs-Bolliing, DSW, LCSW, LMHC, CASAC (A)-G, MAC

Harm Reduction Psychotherapist at Center for Optimal Living and CEO of Addiction Cycle Breakers

About Open Society Foundations

https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/ Sponsor Logo

About The College of New Jersey

https://tcnj.edu/ Sponsor Logo

09:00 AM

History of the Racist War on Drugs & Proposed Policy Solutions

09:00 AM - 11:00 AM
12:00 PM

Antiracist Addiction Treatment Requires Decriminalization & Harm Reduction

12:00 PM - 02:00 PM
02:30 PM

The Future of Decriminalization in New Jersey

02:30 PM - 04:30 PM
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