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University of Baltimore's New Center for Drug Policy and Enforcement Takes on Challenges of Addiction, Heightens Capabilities of Criminal Justice Program in College of Public Affairs

April 6, 2017
Contact: Public Affairs
Phone: 410.837.5739

Mindful of the complex intersection of substance abuse, addiction, and law enforcement—and the impact of these issues on cities and towns across the country—the University of Baltimore's College of Public Affairs has established the new Center for Drug Policy and Enforcement, (CDPE)—a gathering of policy experts, advocates and scholars dedicated to scientific research and best practices for stopping the proliferation of drugs and violence in our communities. 

The CDPE will focus on initiatives to reduce drug trafficking, money laundering, firearms trafficking, drug-related violence, and gang activity, and pursue strategies to advance a public-health approach to resolving the core problem of addiction. The center's efforts, entirely funded by government grants, will focus on Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, and W. Virginia. It will be a part of the College of Public Affairs at UB, and will employ more than 20 staff members and administrators. Funding for the center comes entirely through external grants.

"We believe that the work of CDPE will serve as a complement to long-term efforts being made at the local, state, and national levels to address substance abuse problems as primarily public health issues," said Kurt L. Schmoke, president of the University of Baltimore.

"This is an incredible day for UB and the College of Public Affairs," said College of Public Affairs Dean Roger Hartley. "The addition of the CDPE places the College of Public Affairs at the forefront among universities for research and public policy that will help end the devastating impacts of drugs in urban and rural America. The center enhances and complements the work of each of the college's schools, as society grapples with drugs through public policy that addresses criminal enforcement, treatment, and as a public health problem."

Some examples of the center’s efforts at UB, Dean Hartley noted, could include the following:

  • collaborative research with UB faculty on the growing issue of drug overdoses and enforcement;
  • internships and fellowships for  UB students, possibly leading to employment in law enforcement, public health, and other public policy and philanthropic organizations;
  • new courses or certificate programs in cutting-edge academics, e.g., metadata applications and predictive analytics;
  • new partnerships and networks with public agencies seeking assistance in solving problems related to illicit drugs;
  • seminars, workshops and individualized teaching opportunities within the center’s areas of expertise;
  • public-policy analysis, especially concerning the effectiveness of drug courts, public health approaches, and law enforcement’s methods of addressing drug trafficking, money laundering, etc.

The CDPE will include the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, which is strongly aligned with the mission of the College of Public Affair's three schools—the School of Criminal Justice, the School of Health and Human Services, the School of Public and International Affairs—and its Schaefer Center for Public Policy.

Tom Carr, executive director for the CDPE, said, "We are at a crossroads in dealing with drug abuse nationally. We cannot arrest our way out of this problem, but have to work collaboratively and treat the issue as a public health crisis. The CDPE will bridge the gap between law enforcement and public health to foster policies designed to strengthen our communities by supporting efforts to stop drug distribution and employing nationally-recognized demand reduction strategies."

The Center for Drug Policy and Enforcement is committed to supporting science-based initiatives that will reduce many of the biggest problems associated with drugs. CDPE is a technologically advanced initiative, encompassing the collection and analysis of complex data to advance progressive policies and practices to reduce the use and proliferation of drugs and violence. CDPE relies upon research and best practices to advance drug control policies within the region and nationally, seeking support from faculty and students committed to these intellectual themes.

While each of the three schools and the Schaefer Center within the College of Public Affairs has synergies with CDPE, the closest connection is with the School of Criminal Justice. The school has nationally positioned programs in criminal justice administration, victimology and trauma informed communities, forensics and cyber-crime. CDPE research will be shared with UB’s criminal justice and public health community, covering broad topics such as drug enforcement, drug trafficking organizations, money laundering and bulk cash smuggling, drug treatment and prevention, drug courts, gangs, violent crime, and communications analysis.

The center's mission also ties to health policy interests in UB’s School of Health and Human Services, as well as to "big data" and predictive analytics interests among the faculty in public administration in the College of Public Affairs. Given the college's home in Maryland's largest metropolitan area, plus its long history of providing expertise and guidance in matters of public importance through its faculty, students and alumni, the CDPE is a natural addition to UB’s many resources.

"We in the College of Public Affairs believe that the CDPE will elevate our capabilities in each of our schools and the Schaefer Center, especially in criminal justice. Adding this Center will place us among the leading public service colleges on the East coast," Dean Hartley said.

CDPE will bring many research and educational opportunities to faculty and students within the College of Public Affairs, e.g., collecting data to develop analytical tools to support law enforcement and public health initiatives.

CDPE also will provide undergraduate and graduate internships, paid and unpaid, to UB students. At a minimum, nine positions will be made available to UB students every calendar year. Internships with the center frequently result in full-time employment, with the CDPE or one of its participating agencies.

Read coverage about the CDPE in the Baltimore Business Journal.

Learn more about the College of Public Affairs.

The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the College of Public Affairs, the Merrick School of Business, the UB School of Law and the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences.


Last Published 6/9/16