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Building on the earlier accomplishments of a physician-only initiative “The Physician Leadership on National Drug Policy,” the Physicians and Lawyers for National Drug Policy (PLNDP) was created in 2004 to unite leaders from law and medicine to develop a sustainable organizational presence; its work with individuals and national organizations aimed to make policy and practice more evidence based in the justice system, both for criminal and civil courts.
The legal system is often society’s first opportunity to identify individuals with substance use problems. Judges, lawyers and court staff are all uniquely positioned to link those individuals to community resources, treatment programs, mutual help groups, local drug courts, and other related resources. Substance abuse is in no way limited to cases involving drug related offenses; most assault and battery, vandalism, and larceny cases originate in alcohol or drug problems. Having a better understanding of addiction and treatment can improve judicial decision-making and compliance with court orders and sentencing.
In response to this need, PLNDP in partnership with The National Judicial College has created an integrated and focused educational campaign, that promotes evidence-based and effective alcohol and other drug policies and the need to build collaborative working relationships among law and medicine professionals.
With educational grants from the JEHT Foundation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and The Hanley Family Foundation we have outlined an educational plan whose goals are to 1) develop a resource guide for justice system, 2) provide training for pilot sites, and 3) create a website.