Physicians and Lawyers for National Drug Policy (PLNDP) in partnership with The National Judicial College (NJC) developed this resource guide and a training program on the science and need for evidence-based approaches for alcohol and other drug problems in the justice system. The overall goal is to provide the justice system with scientifically-based information and resources to supplement their understanding of alcohol and other drug problems, thereby bridging the gap between the justice and medical systems to build safer communities and healthier individuals and families.

Physicians and Lawyers for National Drug Policy (PLNDP) was created in 2004 to unite leaders from law and medicine to promote the need for evidence-based policy and practice in handling alcohol and other drug problems in medical and legal settings. PLNDP was formed as an outgrowth of Physician Leadership on National Drug Policy, an earlier medical initiative started in 1997. In the Spring of 2004, PLNDP medical leadership decided that in order to have a meaningful and lasting impact on alcohol and other drug policies it was imperative to bring in leaders of law to work with medicine on this public health concern—in response, Physicians and Lawyers for National Drug Policy was created.

PLNDP’s mission is to align policy, practice, and public understanding with the scientific evidence that substance use disorders are preventable and treatable. PLNDP represents a new approach to alcohol and drug policies—a public health partnership of physicians, lawyers, and allied professionals advocating for evidence-based policies and practices that emphasize the need for local innovation and community engagement.
The National Judicial College (NJC) is entering its 44th year of providing judicial education and professional development for our nation’s judiciary as well as for judges from other countries. Programs offered at NJC are designed to give participants the practical tools needed to effectively serve on the bench. The emphasis is on quality and relevance, while the focus is on the individual needs of each participant. With courses held onsite, across the nation and around the world, NJC offers an average of 95 courses annually with more than 2,700 judges enrolling from all 50 states, U.S. territories and more than 150 countries. NJC’s mission is to provide leadership in achieving justice through quality judicial and collegiate dialogue.

Why a partnership between PLNDP and NJC? The National Judicial College is a premier educator for the judicial community, and PLNDP has extensive experience in developing educational resources for medical professionals and policymakers about the science of alcohol and other drug problems and the need to use evidence-based practices (PLNDP, 2002). As nationally recognized educators, these two organizations are well positioned to translate science into understandable terms while providing the credibility that is needed to promote the need for integrated systems. This guide also outlines evidence-based approaches to guide justice and medical professionals to more effectively address these public health and public safety concerns.

David C. Lewis, MD
PLNDP Board of Directors
Kathryn Cates-Wessel
Executive Director, PLNDP
William F. Dressel, JD
PLNDP Justice Advisory Council