In late 2003, the National Bar Association (NBA) launched a historic initiative to change this nation’s drug policies and laws. Paramount to its strategy, the NBA culled a group of like-minded African American professional organizations to join with them in a coordinated nationwide effort to advocate for drug policies and laws that take into account, among other factors, the public health nature of drug abuse.
On April 1, 2004, distinguished leaders of nine (9) major African American professional organizations met in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill to endorse a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that embraced a framework for reciprocal cooperation in promoting more effective policies and practices to address drug abuse and addiction. With scores of affiliate chapters in major cities and thousands of members nationwide, these organizations form the nucleus of what has become the National African American Drug Policy Coalition (NAADPC).
The Coalition now comprises 23 organizations. The Coalition’s charter members are the: National Bar Association, Association of Black Psychologists, National Association of Black Social Workers, Inc., Howard University School of Law, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc., National Dental Association, National Black Caucus of State Legislators, Association of Black Sociologists, and National Black Nurses Association, Inc. Following the first meeting of the Coalition in October 2004, six (6) new member organizations joined: National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, National Black Alcoholism & Addictions Council; Black Administrators in Child Welfare, Inc., Association of Black Health-System Pharmacists; and National Medical Association. The most recent members are the: National Black Police Association, Thurgood Marshall Action Coalition, National Organization of African Americans in Housing, National Alliance of Black School Educators, the National Institute for Law and Equity, National Black Prosecutors Association, Black Psychiatrists of America, Inc., and National Conference of Black Political Scientists.
The combined membership of the 23 pre-eminent African American professional organizations is 254,578 strongthroughout the United States, and worldwide. The Coalition will tap the considerable knowledge, experience and talent of the combined membership to accomplish the expressed goals of the Coalition.