- Senior Policy Manager, Treatment; Office of Law and Strategy, USA

Senior Policy Manager, Treatment; Office of Law and Strategy
Drug Policy Alliance

Department: Policy

Supervisor: Senior Director, Public Health Law and Policy

Location: Oakland, Los Angeles, New York City, or Washington, D.C.

About DPA

The Drug Policy Alliance is the leading organization in the U.S. promoting alternatives to the war on drugs. We envision a just society in which the use and regulation of drugs are grounded in science, compassion, health, and human rights; in which people are no longer punished for what they put into their own bodies but only for crimes against others; and in which the fears, prejudices, and punitive prohibitions of today are no more. Our mission is to advance those policies and attitudes that best reduce the harms of both drug misuse and drug prohibition, and to promote the sovereignty of individuals over their minds and bodies.

DPA is home to a passionate, diverse, and creative team at a critical time for the drug policy reform movement in the United States. U.S. leaders are now doubling down on the war on drugs, using it as a tool to stoke fear in society and rally their base, and as an excuse to lock up or deport people of color and immigrants. Tens of thousands of people are dying from opioid overdoses, with little meaningful response by the federal government. At the same time, we are seeing state and local governments taking action, increasingly legalizing marijuana, passing Good Samaritan laws, and even exploring safe consumption sites. Public opinion, too, is increasingly in our favor, with ever-larger numbers of people supporting alternatives to current policies of prohibition and criminalization. In this context, DPA’s expertise on drug policy, rigorous analysis, and strong, principled voice stand to make an enormous difference in shaping public opinion and policy, and ultimately making a concrete difference to the lives of millions in the U.S. and beyond.

In addition to the New York headquarters, DPA has to a total of five offices, including, California, New Mexico, D.C, and Ithaca NY, 50 plus staff, an annual operating budget of approximately $12 million, 25,000 dues-paying members and more than 300,000 online subscribers.  It has a solid track record of success at the local, state, and federal levels and consistent visibility in prominent media and policy circles.

The International Drug Policy Reform Conference is a biennial event that brings together people from around the world who believe that the war on drugs must end. Reform attendees have the opportunity to spend three days interacting with people committed to finding alternatives to the war on drugs while participating in sessions given by leading experts from around the world.

More than 1,500 attendees representing over 80 countries joined us in Atlanta, GA in 2017 and we are primed for an even larger attendance when we bring the conference to St. Louis, MO in 2019.

For more information, please visit our website at www.drugpolicy.org.


The Position

The Senior Policy Manager, Treatment in DPA’s Office of Law and Strategy engages in policy advocacy, litigation, legislative drafting, media relations, and public education in the local, state and federal jurisdictions in which DPA is active. This position shall have a particular focus on increasing access to substance use disorder treatment and recovery services in line with DPA’s principles and priorities.

The Senior Policy Manager, Treatment reports to the Senior Director, Public Health Law and Policy, will serve as a member of DPA’s Policy Team, and may also serve as a member and/or lead one or more internal working committees. This position is grant funded. Although we will pursue additional funding to extend the position, current funding has been secured for two years.

Primary Responsibilities 

• Play a lead role in developing and advancing DPA’s short and long term strategic advocacy agenda with respect to substance use disorder treatment and recovery;

• Research, develop, draft and propose treatment- and recovery-related policy proposals/initiatives, and, ideally, translate those proposals into legislation;

• Track, analyze, and synthesize new research on substance use disorder treatment and recovery and ensure DPA’s policies related to treatment and recovery are based on the best available evidence;

• Track and monitor legal, legislative, and other policy developments related to substance use disorder treatment and recovery;

• Draft materials related to substance use disorder treatment and recovery, including data analyses, literature reviews, policy briefs, blog posts, and op eds;

• Build relationships with and engage key stakeholders in the substance use disorder treatment and recovery communities to help advance DPA’s advocacy agenda;

• Assist with the development of communications messages and narratives related to a health, harm reduction, and treatment oriented approach to substance use disorder;

• Conduct media outreach and public speaking on local, state and national substance use disorder and recovery issues;

• Testify before legislative bodies and executive commissions;

• Assist with planning and facilitating DPA-hosted meetings and conferences;

• Present at conferences, universities and community events.


• Advanced degree in public health or related field or significant experience and expertise in public health; Juris Doctor Degree and admission to at least one state bar strongly preferred;

• Six plus years’ experience in policy or legal advocacy and/or regulatory work; three plus years’ experience related specifically to substance use disorder treatment issues;

• In-depth and demonstrated knowledge of substance use disorder treatment and recovery issues, including drug treatment funding mechanisms/streams (including strong familiarity with the Affordable Care Act and state Medicaid programs), regulatory and oversight systems, insurance coverage and reimbursement rates, program licensing, professional credentialing and accreditation, data and evaluation, research, and barriers to access;

• Strong analytical skills and ability to translate scientific research into policy and into language accessible to lay audience;

• Ability to evaluate and synthesize complex legislation and regulations; legislative drafting skills strongly preferred;

• Working knowledge of state and federal legislative processes;

• Excellent writing, research, and oral advocacy skills;

• Strong communication and negotiation skills;

• Ability to be detail-oriented, work under pressure, meet deadlines and work independently with minimal supervision;

• Strong interpersonal skills and ability to build and cultivate relationships with people and organizations of various orientations and backgrounds;

• Brings a strong intersectional lens to the work, including racial justice, mental health, and disability rights;

• Embraces harm reduction as a core value and principle of substance use disorder treatment and recovery;

• A demonstrated passion for social and racial justice and commitment to the issues DPA addresses;

• Excellent computer skills (including familiarity with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint);

• Availability to work occasional evenings and weekends and to travel.

Terms of Employment:

This position may be based in Oakland, Los Angeles, New York City, or Washington, D.C.; Oakland is preferred.


DPA offers a competitive salary and benefits package that includes health, dental, long-term disability, and life insurance; a generous 403(b) plan; and 25 days paid time off.


Applications will be reviewed immediately and will be accepted until the position is filled.

Application Process

Please submit your application with resume, cover letter, and brief writing sample at: http://www.drugpolicy.org/about-us/jobs-and-internships.

No phone calls, please. We will only contact candidates who are under consideration.

The Drug Policy Alliance is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. DPA encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, ethnicity, personal appearance, political affiliation, family responsibility, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction. We are particularly interested in hiring people who have been adversely affected by the war on drugs.

Job posted on 3rd July 2019
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