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About the Drug Policy Alliance

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the nation's leading organization of people who believe the war on drugs is doing more harm than good.  In our vision of tomorrow, people are not punished simply for what they put into their bodies but only for harm done to others.  We fight for drug policies based on science, compassion, health and human rights. Our work spans issues from medical marijuana to youth drug education.  We work to ensure that our nation’s drug policies no longer arrest, incarcerate, disenfranchise and otherwise harm millions of nonviolent people, especially people of color.

Few public policies have compromised public health and undermined our fundamental civil liberties for so long and to such a degree as the war on drugs.  The United States is now the world’s largest jailer, imprisoning nearly half a million people for drug offenses alone. That’s more people than Western Europe, with a bigger population, incarcerates for all offenses.  Roughly 1.5 million people are arrested each year for drug law violations - 40% of them just for marijuana possession. People suffering from cancer, AIDS and other debilitating illnesses are regularly denied access to their medicine or even arrested and prosecuted for using medical marijuana.  We can do better.  Join us.


DPA formed in 2000 when The Lindesmith Center, an activist drug policy think-tank established by Ethan Nadelmann in 1994, merged with the Drug Policy Foundation, a membership and grantmaking organization established in 1987.  The objective of the merger was to create a powerful organization to promote drug policy reform in mainstream public and political discourse.  Today, we have eight offices, 46 staff, 26,000 dues-paying members, over 100,000 online subscribers, and a growing track record of success at the local, state, and federal levels.

Our Goals

We do not believe that there is an ultimate solution to our drug problems, but we do believe that there are steps that can and should be taken soon to reduce the harms associated with both drug use and our failed policies. These include:

  • Making marijuana legally available for medical purposes;
  • Curtailing drug testing not related to detecting impairment;
  • Ending asset forfeiture abuses; Restoring constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures;
  • Redirecting most government drug control resources from criminal justice and interdiction to public health and education;
  • Supporting public health measures, notably syringe exchange and other harm reduction programs, to reduce HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and other infectious diseases;
  • Supporting effective, science-based drug education and ending support for ineffective programs;
  • Making methadone maintenance and other effective drug treatment more accessible and available;
  • Removing obstacles to proper use of opioid and other medications for treatment of pain and terminal disease;
  • Repealing mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenses and ending incarceration for simple drug possession;
  • Ending criminal penalties for marijuana, except those involving distribution of drugs to children;
  • Ending invidious discrimination against people with past drug abuse problems or offenses; and
  • Ending racially discriminatory drug policies and enforcement measures.

This statement of objectives and issues should not be regarded as comprehensive, but rather as suggested components of a drug policy based not upon fear, prejudice and punitive prohibitions but rather science, compassion, health and human rights. You can read our vision/mission here.


DPA is your voice to Congress, the media and the public. Your membership and support for DPA helps us persuade opinion leaders. Through our email updates, online action center, and quarterly newsletter and other publications, you will be kept up-to-date on the latest drug policy reform efforts throughout the US and around the world. Donate to DPA and become a member today!! (You can download a summary of DPA’s last audited financial report here.)


Donations to DPA are fully tax-deductible as allowed by law. Our 501(c)4 affiliate, the Drug Policy Alliance Network, engages in direct lobbying activities.  Donations to the Drug Policy Alliance Network are not tax deductible. Click here for a link to DPA’s latest Form 990, the tax document we file every year with the IRS.  It includes detailed and audited financial information about our organization.  This link is provided by Guidestar, a national database of non-profit organizations.


Our rapidly growing library is one of the largest collections on drugs and drug policy in the world. It contains over 10,000 books, reports, government documents, periodicals, videos, and articles from the U.S. and abroad as well as in-depth collections on drug-related policies in Canada, Latin America, Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Australia. You can visit the library during working hours at 70 West 36th, 16th Floor, New York, NY or search the collection online

We also maintain an online library that provides access to hundreds of documents from our permanent collection and the latest news from DPA.


Protect Live Music
Safety First
Drug Testing Fails our Youth
New Mexico Drug Policy Project
Proposition 36 (California)
International Harm Reduction Development (IHRD)


New York
70 West 36th Street, 16th Floor
New York, NY 10018
(212) 613-8020 ph
(212) 613-8021 fx

Washington, DC
925 15th Street NW, 2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 216-0035 ph
(202) 216-0803 fx

San Francisco
2233 Lombard St
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 921-4987 ph
(415) 921-1912 fx

Legal Affairs
819 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, California 94710
(510) 229-5211 ph
(510) 295-2810 fx

New Mexico
104 S. Capitol Place, Suite 8
Santa Fe, NM 87501
(505) 983-3277 ph
(505) 983-3278 fx

1225 8th Street, Suite 570
Sacramento,CA 95814
(916) 444-3751 ph
(916) 444-3802 fx

New Jersey
16 West Front Street
Suite 101A
Trenton, NJ 08608
(609) 396-8613 ph
(609) 396-9478 fx

Los Angeles
610 S. Ardmore Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 201-4780 ph
(213) 201-4781 fx