OSF: Global Drug Policy Program

OSF: Global Drug Policy Program2019-10-02T14:22:20-05:00

Project Description

Open Society Foundations

Global Drug Policy Program:

The conversation about drugs is divisive. Often we think about drugs in the immediate, an action made by an individual, resulting in a series of individual choices and negative consequences. What we talk about when we talk about drugs often misses a larger, more important conversation: how drug policies affect societies collectively.

The Global Drug Policy Program (GDPP) connects the impacts of criminalizing drugs as policy and uncovers how those drug policies pose a challenge to human rights, social justice, sustainable development, peace-building, and public health. GDPPs mission is to challenge the way the world approaches drugs through social change and advocacy. 

This summer, GDPP will host their first International Field Program, offering students the opportunity to work with leading drug policy organizations in three different capitals in three countries: the NGO, Release in London, England;  Polish Drug Policy Network Foundation in Warsaw, Poland; and Skoun: A Lebanese Addictions Center, in Beirut, Lebanon. 

This IFP is an opportunity for students who gravitate towards advocacy work and out-of-the-box thinking, and like to challenge their own thinking and norms. Those who are interested in the program will also develop a set of valuable skills and tools on how to work on the divisive issues surrounding drugs. 

Program Structure 

  • Choose from three country sites and work with three different, leading drug policy organizations
  • Fulfill an internship with a leading organization that works on drugs, drug policy and advocacy in either London, Warsaw or Beirut 
  • Work closely with the country faculty advisor and the host organization on an independent research  project 
  • Students will get to know and work with their host organizations before departing on their IFP. The host organizations will supervise students during their respective internships. 
  • The faculty country coordinator will provide additional support remotely.  

Country Sites & Organizations

London, England 

Release is the national center of expertise on drugs and drugs law in England. They provide specialist advice on drug use and drugs law, directly campaign and advocate around issues that impact their clients, carries out primary research and responds to drug policy developments. Release is proposing to host New School Students to gain first-hand experience of the policy and research work. As there are a number of different tasks that students could assist with, this would be tailored to their interests and according to the skills they are seeking to develop, as much as possible. IFP opportunity is available to two (2) current New School graduate students.

Possible Project Work 

  • Contribute to at least one of Release’s research projects or policy responses
  • Learn about a specific aspect of drug policy and its intersection with other policy areas (e.g. criminal justice, human rights, social justice, and public health) 
  • Develop skills in written communication, critical thinking, and evidence-based argumentation; 
  • Gain experience in engaging with policy processes 

Warsaw, Poland

Polish Drug Policy Network Foundation began as a civil initiative in 2008 when a group of 174 experts gathered together to work on reforming Poland’s drug policy – one of the most restrictive drug policy in Europe. The foundation provides legal advice, participates in public debates and in the media, cooperates with decision-making institutions, organizes social campaigns and takes part in the international debate on drug policy. IFP opportunity is available to two (2) current New School graduate students. 

Possible Project Work

  • Co-create a fundraising strategy from foreign institutions, business sector and private donors for the Polish Drug Policy Network and on the Polish Psychedelic Society 
  • Co-create strategic communications started concerning cooperation at the international level with a range of public relations activities
  • Implement a social media communication strategy 
  • Participate in meetings with NGOs operating in the area of human rights and drug policy in Poland 

Beirut, Lebanon

Skoun is a non-profit, Lebanese Organization, and the first outpatient therapeutic family in Lebanon that offers prevention and treatment to drug users. The organization was created in 2001 with the mission to provide drug dependence treatment and care, deliver tools to reduce drug-related harms and advocate for drug policy reform. IFP opportunity is available to one (1) New School graduate student. 

Possible Project Work

  • Contribute to the production of policy papers (policy briefs) on the decriminalization of drug use in Lebanon 
  • Compile arguments on the decriminalization of drug use
  • Develop communications, policy analysis, and evidenced-based argumentation skills
  • Carry out an independent research project aligned and relevant to Skoun’s work

 Course Requirements

  • Spring Global Drug Policy Course (NINT5446-CRN7223) 
  • Global Drug Policy Program IFP lab 

Program Info and Requirements

Faculty Country Coordinator: Kasia Malinowska