Past events

From Punishment to Public Health: Embracing Evidence-Based Solutions to Ending the Overdose Crisis

September 27 -28 | Columbus, Ohio

The Drug Enforcement and Policy Center partnered with the Drug Policy Alliance, ACLU Ohio, and the Harm Reduction Ohio to organize a conference that explored the impact of criminal justice laws and policies in compounding drug use harms, including overdose deaths, and offered an alternative framework for addressing problematic drug use and drug-related fatalities rooted in evidence, compassion, and the principles of harm reduction. The conference was attended by over 250 people across Ohio and neighboring states.


Laboratories of Democracy: Drug Policy in the United State

September 25 | Washington, D.C.

On September 25 the center, with support from the Charles Koch Foundation, hosted Laboratories of Democracy: Drug Policy in the United States. This event brought together leading experts from different spheres and perspectives to discuss the diverse and challenging policy questions that have emerged in the drug policy area. The speakers used their knowledge to propose drug policy solutions to tackle the difficult problems faced by our country and engaged attendees in an action-oriented discussion on how our country can move forward with positive solutions to addiction and substance abuse. The event was held at The Willard InterContinental in Washington, DC.


  • Jamie Brown, Athletes for Care, Former NFL Player
  • Daniel Dew, The Buckeye Institute
  • Liz Essley Whyte, Center for Public Integrity
  • John Hudak, Brookings Institution
  • Alex Kreit, Thomas Jefferson School of Law and The Ohio State University
  • Joe Sabia, San Diego State University and the University of New Hampshire
  • Sally Satel, AEI
  • David Whitesock, Face It Together
  • Bob Zaccheo, Project L.I.F.T.


Ballot Insights: The Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment, and Rehabilitation Amendment: Step in the Right Direction?

September 13 | Columbus, Ohio

Direct democracy through ballot initiative has a long history in the United States. In recent years, criminal justice reform advocates have turned to initiatives to achieve victories on a number of diverse issues, including victims’ rights, sentencing reform, marijuana legalization and favoring drug treatment over incarceration. But as the use of ballot initiatives has grown, so has a debate among scholars and government professionals about the potential benefits and drawbacks of using direct democracy to legislate complex and nuanced policy matters. Our panel of experts discussed the ballot initiative’s aims and objectives, as well as the pros and cons of harnessing the power of the people to achieve intricate policy changes.


  • Daniel Dew, Legal Fellow, Buckeye Institute
  • Steven JohnsonGrove, Attorney/Deputy Director for Policy, Ohio Justice and Policy Center
  • Louis Tobin, Executive Director, Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association



August 13 – 15 | Columbus, Ohio

The Drug Enforcement and Policy Center was proud to collaborate with the National Association of Sentencing Commissions on organizing the 2018 NASC Annual Conference, which took place from August 13-15 in Columbus, Ohio. The conference brought together representatives from sentencing commissions around the country, whose work often intersects with other components of the criminal justice system, including bail, interstate compact, parole, diversionary programs, and problem solving courts. The Drug Enforcement and Policy Center was involved in planning of two panels – “The Impact for Sentencing Commissions: Marijuana Reform & Changes in Drug Laws” and “Drug Use and Effective Partnerships: Legal Academics, Law Schools and Sentencing Commissions“.