Posted Apr 06
Drug Policy Alliance

Policy Coordinator

Western New York Full Time

Title: Policy Coordinator

Type: Full-time position – Grant-funded for two years

Supervisor: State Director, New York
Department: New York Policy

Location: Central/Western New York

Last Day to Apply: Applications will be reviewed immediately and will be accepted until the position is filled.

The Drug Policy Alliance has an immediate opening for a full-time Policy Coordinator reporting directly to the State Director in our New York Office. The Policy Coordinator, New York will play an important leadership role in the development and implementation of public policy initiatives and issue-based advocacy campaigns focused on the Ithaca Plan and organizing in Central/Western New York. This is a remote position and not based in New York City, this person is expected to live and work out of the Finger Lake region. As part of DPA’s New York upstate office, the Policy Coordinator is broadly responsible for advancing DPA’s goals and objectives in Central and Western New York through responsible organizing, effective advocacy, and strategic communications. This is a two-year grant-funded position.

Drug Policy Alliance

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the nation's leading organization promoting drug policies that are grounded in science, compassion, health, and human rights. In the last 20 years, DPA has expanded from its New York headquarters to include eight offices, 60 plus staff, an annual operating budget of approximately $12 million, over 35,000 dues-paying members and nearly 350,000 online subscribers. We have a solid track record of success at the local, state, and federal levels and consistent visibility in prominent media and policy circles.

The New York Policy Office of the Drug Policy Alliance works to promote sensible drug policies and to build a movement to end the drug war across New York. Our campaigns are developed in partnership with grassroots community organizations, researchers, service providers, and other advocates for reform. From promoting overdose prevention strategies to ending the racially biased marijuana arrest crusade, from passing legislation like the medical marijuana law to working with cities to establish municipal-based drug strategies, we are relentless and methodical in building campaigns to shift New York’s drug policy away from the criminal justice system and toward an approach guided by public health and safety. For more information about DPA and our work, please visit

The Position:

The Policy Coordinator, New York will play a leadership role in the development and implementation of public policy initiatives and advocacy campaigns with a particular focus on aiding in the implementation of the Ithaca Plan and supporting municipal advocacy efforts in Central/Western New York. These initiatives and campaigns, developed in conjunction with the State Director, are pursued largely at the state and municipal levels, occasionally at the federal level, and always with an eye toward broader movement-building goals.

The Ideal Candidate:

The ideal candidate understands that the war on drugs has never been about drugs, but rather a state effort to stigmatize, isolate, and criminalize certain people who use certain drugs, whether they do so problematically or not. You understand that the drug war has never been based on science, but on fear and biased ideologies fueled by government propaganda. You know the drug war drives deep structural racial inequities, which is why it has come to be known as the New Jim Crow, and you are profoundly committed to building a broad-based movement to end it. You believe deeply in responsible organizing and advocacy for equity, justice, and human rights and want to be part of a dynamic team dedicated to transforming New York’s approach to drug policy. You understand that effective drug reform policies are driven by research and science and are grounded in strong evidence around effective practices, programs, and interventions.

Primary Responsibilities

The Policy Coordinator is responsible for:

  • Collaborating with senior staff to develop and implement reform campaigns, particularly related to the Ithaca Plan, including leading outreach and relationship cultivation efforts for municipality-based advocacy efforts

  • Researching, analyzing, summarizing and, at times, drafting proposed legislation for state and municipal legislative bodies

  • Educating and lobbying elected officials and staff on legislation and policy issues

  • Monitoring implementation of relevant new laws and policies, such as New York’s diversion programs, harm reduction efforts, and state funding opportunities, and, where necessary, coordinating implementation activities with stakeholders

  • Closely collaborating with state partners, including grassroots community organizing groups, to advance reform campaigns and broader movement-building objectives

  • Researching policy issues and writing memos, fact sheets, reports, letters, and articles on drug policy reform topics

  • Identifying, and, when necessary, developing potential leaders

  • Planning and facilitating coalition meetings as needed

  • Representing DPA in public speaking roles, including media, speeches, presentations, and legislative testimony

  • Drafting email alerts, maintaining web page content, and participating on social media platforms

  • Writing media stories, including press releases, opinion editorials, and letters to the editor

  • Coordinating community engagement efforts and other events, including community consultations, press conferences, public forums, lobby days, and public speaking events

  • Supporting fundraising activities when necessary

  • Participating in organization-wide activities such as policy issues teams, DPA's bi-annual conference, national reform advocacy

  • Required Qualifications:

    The ideal candidate will have:

    • Strong attention to detail and ability to operate as a self-starter
    • At least three years demonstrated leadership experience in community or labor organizing campaigns (including online campaigns) and/or legislative reform campaigns
    • Exemplary writing skills
    • Interest to build and cultivate relationships with people and organizations of various orientations, backgrounds, and perspectives
    • Commitment to harm reduction philosophy, equity, and racial justice
    • Ability to work under pressure, meet deadlines, and demonstrate patience in the face of changing circumstances
    • Availability to work evenings and weekends and to travel periodically throughout NY and nationally
    • Ability to manage, organize, and prioritize multiple tasks
    • A sense of humor and openness to honest self-reflection

    Preferred (but not required) Qualifications

    • Direct experience with drug policy reform
    • Working knowledge of the legislative processes and policy analysis
    • Knowledge of different social change methodologies and practices
    • High degree of proficiency with standard office applications such as Excel, Word, and Outlook required; proficiency is social media platforms (e.g., twitter, Facebook, blogs, Reddit)
    • Graduate degree in public policy/administration, public health, social work, law or related field
    • Spanish language proficiency

    Terms of Employment

    This is a two-year grant-funded position. This position requires the candidate to live in the Finger Lake Area and offers the chance to work with a diverse, dedicated team. Substantial travel required.


    DPA offers a competitive salary, based on experience, and a benefits package including health, dental, long-term disability and life insurance; a generous 403(b) plan; and 25 days paid time off.


    Applications will be accepted and reviewed immediately until the position is filled.

    Additional Application Instructions

    Please submit the following: - A one-page cover letter that answers these questions: o Why do you want to join DPA’s New York Policy Office o What will you bring to the team? - Your résumé and salary requirements - A writing sample of no more than four pages (links to online examples are acceptable). Submit by email to Please include in the subject line the following: "First Name, Last Name - Policy Coordinator – NY” Email submissions are preferred, but if you have a good reason for doing so, applications can be submitted by mail to: Devon Hutchins Human Resources Manager Re: Policy Coordinator, New York Drug Policy Alliance 131 West 33th Street, 15th Floor New York, NY 10001

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