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In-Person Workshop

Anti-Racist Approaches to Drug Decriminalization: Thinking Beyond Public Health

Total Credits: 1.5 including 1.5 Category I CE

F23 Daniel Thursz Lecture
Special Offers |  200 Adults, Couples & Families |  400 Substance Use Disorders |  600 Leadership and Management |  700 Professional Growth & Development |  800 Online
Lawrence Grandpre |  Nadine Finigan Carr, PhD
Course Levels:
1 Hour 30 Minutes
Target Audience:
Students, Social Workers, Community Members
University of Maryland School of Social Work - Baltimore, Maryland

Please Note: Programs with a ☾ insignia begin after 5pm or air on the weekend.


Drug decriminalization has often been grounded in public health frameworks. While these have gone a long way toward developing policies that seek to mitigate harms of carceral drug policies, they have also pathologized Black communities and focused interventions on the individual. Anti-Black policies and programming have created their own harms; they result in surveillance, extraction, and channeling funds to institutions and professionals who are largely from outside of the communities that have been harmed by drug policy. Recent scholarship using African-centered lenses documents alternative approaches to drug decriminalization. These include use of reparations to support community-led efforts to address the economic and social harms that build on existing knowledge, networks, and strengths that exist in communities that have been the target of failed drug policies for decades.


This University of Maryland School of Social Work Daniel Thursz Social Justice Event will be offered as a panel discussion with interactive dialogue.



Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle; Community Justice and Equity (CJaE) Initiative


Lawrence Grandpre Related seminars and products

Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle


(410) 216-3325

Lawrence Grandpre is Director of Research for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle. His focuses include drug policy, criminal justice, police accountability, and community-based economic/educational development. He is the co-author of “The Black Book” and his work has been featured in The Guardian, The Baltimore Sun, Time Magazine and Black Agenda Report. He is also the co-host of the In Search of Black Power Podcast.

Nadine Finigan Carr, PhD Related seminars and products


Nadine Finigan-Carr, PhD

Executive Director, UMB Center for Violence Prevention, University of Maryland, Baltimore and Commissioner, Baltimore City Office of Equity and Civil Rights

Nadine M Finigan-Carr, Ph.D., is a prevention research scientist focused on the application of behavioral and social science perspectives to research on contemporary health problems, especially those that disproportionately affect people of color. Her scholarship is grounded in theories and methods found primarily in the field of health behavior change among individuals and the environments that support or impede chronic disease prevention or management, injury, and violence. She is an internationally recognized expert on minor human trafficking and sexual exploitation having collaborated with colleagues in the UK, Canada, and the Caribbean. In 2018, she presented a TedX talk titled, Child Prostitutes Don’t Exist. She holds dual appointments at the University of Maryland, Baltimore – Research Associate Professor in the School of Social Work and Associate Professor in the School of Medicine. Currently, Dr. Finigan-Carr is the Director of the Prevention of Adolescent Risks Initiative. She is the Principal Investigator of research projects at both the state and federal levels designed to intervene with system involved youth – those in foster care or the juvenile justice system. These youth have a double vulnerability – adolescence, a critical stage marked by increased risk for negative social and behavioral outcomes including aggression and sexual risk behaviors; and, being removed from their families of origin. Dr Finigan-Carr is the author of Linking Health and Education for African American Students’ Success (Routledge Press). She has served as special guest editor for the Journal of Negro Education (2015), the Journal of Violence and Victims (2020), and Children Youth Services’ Review (2021). She also serves as a Commissioner of Community Relations in the Baltimore City Office of Civil Rights, Equity and Wage Enforcement. Dr Finigan-Carr can be reached by email at or via twitter @doctorNayAKA. 

Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives


1. Attendees will understand the general contours and limitations of public health approaches to drug decriminalization.

2. Attendees will learn about reparations to communities harmed by the War on Drugs and other anti-Black drug policies and programs

3. Attendees will consider how to apply an African-centered lens to drug policy and to decriminalization efforts.

4. Attendees will identify actions to support and promote advocacy to advance

Bibliography & References


A Pan African Approach to Addiction and Harm Reduction - In Search of Black Power. Black Power Media


Grandpre, L., Flath, N., & Park, J. (2023). The Communal Impacts of Drug Decriminalization in Maryland. University of Marland School of Social Work and Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle

Woods, I. P. (1998). Bringing Harm Reduction to the Black Community: There’s a Fire in My House and You’re Telling Me to Rearrange My Furniture. In: Marlatt GA, editor. Harm reduction: pragmatic strategies for managing high-risk behaviors. New York: Guilford


Late Fees and Refunds

Fee & Registration:

Cost is $25 and includes CE credit.


 refunds and transfers are not granted for this event.




University of Maryland School of Social Work

525 W Redwood St., Baltimore, Maryland 21201, United States
(410) 706-7790