Innocence and Justice Clinic, Criminal Justice Program co-sponsor ‘Re-Thinking Drug Policy’ symposium on Monday, Oct. 2

Photo of gavel and stethoscope on table

The Innocence and Justice Clinic and the Criminal Justice Program are co-sponsoring a symposium, “Re-Thinking Drug Policy: Seeking Solutions Based on Law, Science and Public Health,” with the Rethinking Community Program, the Office of the Provost, the Wake Forest University School of Medicine’s Center for Community Engagement Department of Social Sciences and Health Policy, Center for Research on Substance Use and Addiction and Clinical and Translational Science Institute from 1 to 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, in the Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education, 475 Vine St., 5th Floor Tiered Classroom, in downtown Winston-Salem.

The event, which is also sponsored by Conservatives for Criminal Justice Reform (CCJR), is free and open to the public. It will be held in conjunction with “International Wrongful Conviction Day.”

Three hours of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits (one hour of substance abuse, two hours of general) have been approved by the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA) for a fee. 


After four decades, policy analysts across the political spectrum have come to recognize that the War on Drugs is both ineffective and counterproductive. The “tough on crime” policies have led to massive increases in incarceration and have served to nurture, rather than dismantle, drug cartels. The use of mandatory minimums aimed at targeting traffickers, has instead led to essentially criminalizing addiction, throwing low level addicts into prison and only exacerbating mental health conditions. The utter failure of the War on Drugs is showcased in the current public health epidemic presented by the opioid crisis. Across the country, opioid abuse and overdose related deaths are rapidly rising to unprecedented rates. This symposium will provide context for the history of what led to this current state, consider solutions that incorporate not only the medical and scientific concerns related to addiction and over prescription, but also the criminal justice responses that have bloated our prisons and devastated families and communities across the country.

The event will be streamed live online, as well as available in two video sessions for viewing later.  Using Google Chrome is recommended.

Program Agenda

Addiction, Epidemiology, and Medical System Response

Michael A. Nader, Ph.D.: The Nature and Role of Addiction

Mark Wolfson, Ph.D.: The Epidemiology of the Opioid Epidemic

Robert Hurley, M.D., Ph.D.,: The Medical System Response: Prescribing Practices

Margaret Rukstalis, M.D.: The Medical System Response: Treatment

The Criminal Justice Response to the Drug Problem

Professor Mark Rabil, director of the Innocence and Justice Clinic, Moderator

Maddie deLone, J.D., M.S., Executive Director,  Innocence Project

Greg Newburn, J.D., Director of State Policy, Families Against Mandatory Minimums 

The View from Ground Zero: Wilmington, N.C.

Tarrah Callahan of Conservatives for Criminal Justice Reform (CCJR), Moderator

Honorable J.H. Corpening, II, J.D., Chief District Court Judge, New Hanover County, N.C.

Joseph Pino, MD, MHA FAAP, FACP, Director, UNC School of Medicine Wilmington Campus, New Hanover Regional Medical Center

Roundtable Discussion: Rethinking Policy, Treatment, and other Solutions

Professor Kami Chavis, director of the Criminal Justice Program, Moderator