Leaders in Law and Medicine Working Together Was created in 2004

“The Physician Leadership on National Drug Policy,” 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.


Physicians and Lawyers for National Drug Policy (PLNDP), a non-partisan group of the nation’s leading physicians and attorneys, whose goal was to promote and support public policy and treatment options that are scientifically-based, evidence-driven, and cost-effective. The initiative, funded by the JEHT, Robert Wood Johnson, and Charles and Helen Schwab Foundations, and building on the earlier work of Physician Leadership on National Drug Policy, was organized around the belief that effective policies for alcohol and other drugs must be grounded in data, not politics. PLNDP advocated for evidence-based policy decisions and encouraged local innovation by establishing stable professional partnerships in every state and by supporting community coalitions. For the first time, physicians and lawyers, often viewed as squaring off in policy debates, have joined forces to make a concerted effort to move the national conversation beyond the often misleading and polarizing policy debates of the past. America’s drug policy has too frequently missed the mark, and the national interest requires a largely new, pragmatic and non-partisan approach.


Physicians and Lawyers for National Drug Policy will take the lessons and strategies learned from the original Physician Leadership on National Drug Policy to build a stable and sustainable bridge between law and medicine. The new PLNDP intends to:

  • Provide a non-partisan platform for expressing and disseminating informed, evidence-based professional opinion on policies and practices relating to substance abuse.
  • Present a balanced, scientifically grounded perspective, and thereby provide a voice now missing from the highly polarized debate on drug policy.
  • Harness the energies and resources of lawyers and physicians to promote public education and improved policy and practice.

The PLNDP leadership is officially comprised of nationally recognized lawyers and physicians, but PLNDP will informally involve additional individuals and organizations that share its objectives. During the next two years, PLNDP will:

  • Draft a stable, long-term, realistic, public health oriented organizational strategy that is progressive and non-partisan, and can reduce tendencies toward politically driven responses to drug problems.
  • Establish permanent, public health partnerships of lawyers and physicians in every state.
  • Develop and disseminate user-friendly, scientific evidence for the judiciary, legislature, medical community, and public-at-large.

PLNDP has united leaders from law and medicine to move policy and practice in a direction that reflects the following perspectives:

  • The United States should embrace a stable, evidence-based, long-term strategy for controlling what is, and will continue to be, an endemic health problem with major impacts at many levels of society, taking account of the costs and benefits of every policy instrument deployed.
  • Drug policy should reflect a public health approach to the prevention and treatment of substance abuse and should avoid excessive reliance on criminal enforcement and disproportionate punishment.
  • The benefits of treatment to individuals, their families and communities are well documented and promising new research is likely to produce even more effective approaches.
    Physicians and other health care providers should be able to treat addicted individuals without undue impediments; insurance and health plans should cover the costs of treatment; and the legal system should help to identify people in need of treatment and should facilitate effective interventions.
  • Understanding that addiction is a disease does not absolve addicted persons of responsibility for their behavior, but their addiction should be given strong weight in mitigation of punishment, and as a basis for diversion from the criminal justice system.
  • Sending addicted people to prison does not, by itself, help them recover and the collateral consequences associated with a criminal record create enormous barriers to effective recovery.
    Reliance on local initiatives should be a key element of national drug policy.


Richard J. Bonnie, JD
Co-Chair, Board of Directors, PLNDP
John S. Battle, Professor of Law
University of Virginia Law School

George D. Lundberg, MD, ScD
Co-Chair, Board of Directors, PLNDP
Editor-in-Chief, Medscape General Medicine
WebMD Corporation

Board of Directors

Robert T. Gonzales, JD
Board of Directors, PLNDP

David C. Lewis, MD
Board of Directors, PLNDP
Brown University
Center for Alcohol & Addiction Studies

Thomas H. Murray, PhD
Board of Directors, PLNDP
The Hastings Center

David L. Rosenbloom, PhD
Board of Directors, PLNDP
Project Together
Join Together

Leadership Council

Hoover Adger, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Johns Hopkins Hospital

Jeremiah A. Barondes, MD
NY Academy of Medicine

Floyd E. Bloom, MD
Founding CEO and Chairman
Neurome, Inc.

Richard C. Boldt, JD
Associate Dean and Professor of Law
University of Maryland

Kathleen Brady, MD, PhD
Professor of Psychiatry
Medical University of South Carolina

Michael K. Brady, JD
Project Manager
Youth and Adult Correctional Agency

Edward N. Brandt, Jr., MD, PhD
Regents' Professor Emeritus
Health Administration and Policy
University of Oklahoma Health Science Center

Lonnie R. Bristow, MD, MACP
Former President of the American Medical Association

Jean Callahan, JD, MSW
Vera Institute Guardianship Project

Mathea Falco, JD
Drug Strategies

Vincent R. Fitzpatrick, JD
White & Case, LLP

Larry M. Gentilello, MD, FACS
C. James Carrico, MD
Distinguished Chair in Surgery for Trauma & Critical Care
Southwestern Medical School

Roger E. Goodman, JD, MPA
Director, Drug Policy Project
King County Bar Association

Fernando A. Guerra, MD, MPH
San Antonio Metropolitan Health District

Peter Barton Hutt, LL.B, LL.M
Covington & Burling

Howard Markel, MD, PhD
Professor of Pediatrics
University of Michigan

Robert B. Millman, MD
Saul P. Steinberg Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Public Health
Weill Medical College of Cornell University

Charles P. O'Brien, MD, PhD
Kenneth Appel Professor
Vice Chair of Psychiatry
University of Pennsylvania

June E. Osborn, MD
Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation

Allan G. Rosenfield, MD
DeLamar Professor & Dean
Mailman School of Public Health
Columbia University

Steven A. Schroeder, MD
Distinguished Professor of Health & Health Care
Department of Medicine
Director, Smoking Cessation Leadership Center
University of California, San Francisco

Kenneth I. Shine, MD
Executive Vice Chancellor
for Health Affairs
University of Texas System

Harold C. Sox, MD
Annals of Internal Medicine

Alan Tasman, MD
Professor and Chairman
Department of Psychiatry and
Behavioral Sciences
University of Louisville School of Medicine

Mary Sue Terry, JD
Former Attorney General,

Judges Advisory Council

Shirley S. Abrahamson, JD
Chief Justice
Wisconsin Supreme Court

Arthur L. Burnett, Sr., JD
Senior Judge
National Executive Director
National African American Drug Policy Coalition

William F. Dressel, JD
The National Judicial College

Martha P. Grace, JD
Chief Justice
Massachusetts Juvenile Court

Barbara J. Rothstein, JD
Federal Judicial Center

Advisory Board

Eric D. Blumenson, JD
Professor of Law
Suffolk University Law School

Thomas F. Boat, MD
Professor and Chairman
Children's Hospital Medical Center

Linda Hawes Clever, MD, MACP
California Pacific Medical Center
Department of Occupational Health

Spencer Foreman, MD
Montefiore Medical Center

Eric Goplerud, PhD
Ensuring Solutions to Alcohol Problems
George Washington University

David S. Greer, MD
Professor Emeritus
Memorial Hospital
Department of Medicine

Mary R. Haack, RN
University of Maryland School of Nursing

Howard Hiatt, MD
Senior Physician
Division of General Medicine and Primary Care
Brigham and Women's Hospital

Daniel Hungerford, DrPh
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

Rob J. MacCoun, PhD
Professor of Public Policy and Law
Goldman School of Public Policy & Boalt Hall School of Law
University of California at Berkeley

Charles Manski, PhD
Professor, WCAS Economics
Northwestern University

Lynn M. Paltrow, JD
Executive Director
National Advocates for Pregnant Women

Stephen C. Scheiber, MD
Executive Vice President
American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology, Inc

Carol Shapiro
Executive Director
Family Justice

Robert D. Sparks, MD
Advisor to the Quincy Foundation for Medical Research, and Senior Associate of the California Medical Association (CMA) Foundation

Michael Sweeney, JD
Oregon Attorney Assistance Program

Donald D. Trunkey, MD
Oregon Health Sciences University
Department of Sciences University

Ellen M. Weber, JD
Assistant Professor of Law
University of Maryland School of Law

PLNDP Associate

A PLNDP Associate is a physician/lawyer who agrees with the mission of the Physicians and Lawyers for National Drug Policy and is interested in learning of opportunities to collaborate with other physicians and lawyers to promote the need for evidence-based alcohol and other drug policies.


Kathryn Cates-Wessel
Executive Director

Victoria Holland
Administrative Coordinator

Amity Quinn
Research Assistant

Related Links

American Academy of Family Physicians
The mission of the American Academy of Family Physicians is to promote improved health of the American people; to advance the specialty of family practice through education, advocacy, and communication; and to serve the unique needs of members with professionalism and creativity.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
One of PLNDP's Outreach Partners, the AAP website provides information on child health, safety and advocacy for babies, children, teens, and adolescents.

American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP)
The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry was formed to: promote excellence clinical practice in addiction psychiatry; educate the public to influence public policy regarding addictive illness; promote accessibility of quality treatment for all patients; provide continuing education for professionals in the field of addiction psychiatry; disseminate new information in the field of addiction psychiatry; and encourage research on the etiology, prevention, identification, and treatment of the addictions.

American Bar Association (ABA)
The American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional association in the world, with more than 400,000 members.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
One of PLNDP's Outreach Partners, ACOG is a nonprofit organization of women's health care physicians advocating highest standards of practice, continuing member education, and public awareness of women's health care issues.

American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM)
The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM) is the nation's largest medical specialty society. Its mission is to enhance the quality and effectiveness of health care by fostering excellence and professionalism in the practice of medicine.

American Medical Association (AMA)
Mission: To promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health.

American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
One of PLNDP's Outreach Partners, the American Medical Student Association, is the largest independent national medical student organization. AMSA is committed to improving health care and healthcare delivery to all people; promoting active improvement in medical education; involving its members in the social, moral and ethical obligations of the profession of medicine; assisting in the improvement and understanding of world health problems; contributing to the welfare of medical student, interns, residents and post-MD/DO trainees; and advancing the profession of medicine.

American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD)
The American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence was founded in 1984 to enhance the quality of patient care in treatment programs by promoting the growth and development of comprehensive methadone treatment services throughout the United States.

Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)
The Association of American Medical Colleges has as its purpose the improvement of the nation's health through the advancement of academic medicine.

Association for Medical Education and Research In Substance Abuse (AMERSA)
AMERSA is an association of multidisciplinary health care professionals in the field of substance abuse dedicated to improving research and education about alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

American Psychiatric Association (APA)
The American Psychiatric Association is a medical specialty society recognized worldwide. Its 40,500 U.S. and international physicians specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional illnesses and substance use disorders.

American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
One of PLNDP's Outreach Partners, American Society of Addiction Medicine is the nation's medical specialty society dedicated to educating physicians and improving the treatment of individuals suffering from alcoholism or other addictions. ASAM members are physicians from all medical specialties and subspecialties.

Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP)
CSAP's mission is to provide national leadership in the Federal effort to prevent alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug problems.

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT)
CSAT works cooperatively across the private and public treatment spectrum to identify, develop, and support policies, approaches, and programs that enhance and expand treatment services for individuals who abuse alcohol and other drugs and that address individuals' addiction-related problems.

College On Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD)
CPDD is a professional organization of scientists whose research is directed toward a better understanding of drug abuse and addiction.

Drug Strategies
Drug Strategies is a non-profit research institute that promotes more effective approaches to the nation's drug problems and supports private and public initiatives that reduce the demand for drugs through prevention, treatment, and law enforcement.

Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA)
EAPA represents more than 7,000 individuals and organizations with an interest in employee assistance in 103 chapters around the globe. Founded in 1971, EAPA has been working to develop and maintain the best possible workplace relationships for people around the world.

Faces & Voices of Recovery
Working to mobilize, organize and rally the millions of Americans in recovery from addiction, their families, friends and allies in a campaign to: end discrimination; broaden social understanding; achieve a just response to addiction as a public health crisis.

Join Together
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National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP)
NAATP's mission is to promote, assist and enhance the delivery of ethical, effective, research-based treatment for alcoholism and other drug addictions.

National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC)
With 16,000 members, NAADAC is the largest national organization for alcoholism and drug abuse professionals across the country who treat addicted individuals and families. NAADAC is committed to increasing general awareness of alcoholism and drug abuse and enhancing care of individuals through treatment, education, and prevention programs.

National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD)
NASADAD is a private, not-for-profit educational,scientific, and informational organization. NASADAD's basic purpose is to foster and support the development of effective alcohol and other drug abuse prevention and treatment programs throughout every State.

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD)
NCADD provides education, information, help, and hope in the fight against the chronic, often fatal disease of alcoholism and other drug addictions. Founded in 1944, NCADD is a voluntary health organization with a nationwide network of Affiliates. NCADD advocates prevention, intervention, research, and treatment and is dedicated to ridding the disease of its stigma and its sufferers from their denial and shame.

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
NIDA supports over 85 percent of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. NIDA supported science addresses the most fundamental and essential questions about drug abuse, ranging from the molecule to managed care, and from DNA to community outreach research.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
NIAAA is one of 18 institutes that comprise the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the principal biomedical research agency of the Federal Government. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) supports and conducts biomedical and behavioral research on the causes, consequences, treatment, and prevention of alcoholism and alcohol-related problems.

Project MAINSTREAM is part of the HRSA-AMERSA-SAMHSA/CSAT interdisciplinary project to improve health professional education on substance abuse and is currently training 39 fellows in 4 regions and 13 interdisciplinary faculty learning groups (IFLG's). Each IFLG is working collaboratively, across professions, on curriculum and field projects. Curriculum projects involve improving substance curriculum in each of the fellows' professions. Field projects involve improving substance abuse services in either clinical or community settings.

Resources for Recovery
Resources for Recovery: State Practices That Expand Treatment Opportunities, a national program managed by Technical Assistance Collaborative, Inc., is a competitive grant program of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation designed to encourage states to identify and implement strategies to expand alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment services within existing overall state spending levels.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Foundation offers a wealth of data and reports on the abuse of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs and efforts to prevent harm from their use from RWJF National Program offices, grantees and other sources. On-line special reports of interest include: 

    Making Recovery a Reality
   A Patchwork of Drug Penalties

Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM)
One of PLNDP's Outreach Partners, SGIM is an international organization of over 2800 physicians and others who combine caring for patients with educating and/or doing research. Our mission is to improving patient care, education, and research in primary care and general internal medicine.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
SAMHSA's mission is to improve the quality and availability of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation services in order to reduce illness, death, disability, and cost to society resulting from substance abuse and mental illnesses. SAMHSA's mission is accomplished in partnership with all concerned with substance abuse and mental illnesses.

Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM)
One of PLNDP's Outreach Partners, STFM's mission is to enhance family medicine education by developing and supporting a community of educators, scholars, and clinicians.

Therapeutic Communities of America (TCA)
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Policy Priorities

Policy Priorities

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View PLNDP resources.

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Physician Leadership

Physician Leadership

Physician Leadership on National Drug Policy (PLNDP) was formed in July 1997, when the members came together and agreed on a Consensus Statement.

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