Keith Humphreys, PhD
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Drug policy: It's a no brainer
Abstract: For 99% of our species' existence, potent psychoactive substances were not available on the globalized scale they are today. Because these substances are now ubiquitous and affordable to much of humanity, public policy is necessary to manage human interaction with these substances and their potential for great benefit and great harm. Unfortunately, when designing public policies related to drugs, policy makers often do not consider the findings of neuroscience nor of other fields with valuable insights to offer (e.g., behavioral economics). Science can't make decisions for voters regarding what to care about when inevitable tradeoffs arise in drug policymaking, but it has enormous potential to facilitate the development of policies that translate democratic will into a society that promotes a healthier, happier and safer interaction between human beings and drugs that we have today.
Bio: Keith Humphreys is a Professor and the Section Director for Mental Health Policy in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He is also a Senior Research Career Scientist at the VA Health Services Research Center in Palo Alto. His research addresses the prevention and treatment of addictive disorders, and, public policy information.
Dr. Humphreys has been extensively involved in the formation of public policy, having served as a member of the White House Commission on Drug Free Communities, the VA National Mental Health Task Force, the National Advisory Council of the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the California Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy. During the Obama Administration, he spent a sabbatical year as Senior Policy Advisor at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He has also testified on numerous occasions in Parliament and advises multiple government agencies in the U.K. He and the authors of "Drug Policy and the Public Good" won the 2010 British Medical Association's Award for Public Health Book of the Year. He writes regularly about drug policy and related topics for Washington Post.