About NAMSDLA 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to creating comprehensive, integrative and effective model state drug and alcohol laws, policies and programs
For Support and Questions
Call us at: 703.229.4954
Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
NAMSDL Headquarters Office
1335 North Front Street, First Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17102
History of NAMSDL
Formed in 1993, NAMSDL began as the President’s Commission on Model State Drug Laws. This congressionally-established commission was charged with creating a model code of laws to help states effectively address alcohol and other drug abuse.
The commission was strictly bipartisan: 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats from across the nation. All state and local leaders and the commissioners came from all walks of life, each possessing expertise in some aspect of the alcohol and other substance abuse problem. They included an urban mayor, a superior court judge, state legislators, a child advocate, a housing specialist, attorneys general, police chiefs, treatment providers, district attorneys and private practice lawyers.
The commissioners were a diverse group who, at first, had seemingly little in common except their appointment to the commission. But that diversity proved to be a strength, not a weakness. Their task, as noted by Chair of NAMSDL, Ralph Brown was, “To talk to people on the front lines of the alcohol and other substance abuse problem and talk to those who have done some of the next thinking on the subject and then to cull and collect good ideas and programs and distill these ideas and experiences into model drug laws.”
The commissioners held five public hearings (Detroit, Philadelphia, San Diego, Tampa and Washington, D.C.) and several working sessions to draft legislative proposals. They conducted site visits to three alcohol and other drug treatment programs and listened to and met with hundreds of individuals, agencies and groups.
Individual commissioners learned from one another, while misperceptions and differences gave way to understanding and consensus. From this new understanding came 44 model laws and policies, which offer a comprehensive continuum of responses and services to fully address alcohol, tobacco and other substance abuse problems. Tough sanctions punish those persons who refuse to abide by the law. Equally important, the sanctions are designed to be constructive, promote prevention and attempt to leverage alcohol and other substance abusers into treatment. The 44 legislative remedies are in a final report, comprised of five volumes and an executive summary:
- Economic Remedies
- Community Mobilization
- Crimes Code Enforcement
- Drug-Free Families, Schools & Workplaces
- Executive Summary of the Final Report
In December 1993, the commissioners submitted their model laws to the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, Attorney General Janet Reno and Dr. Lee Brown, then Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. President Clinton distributed the final report and the accompanying Rutgers University Study “Socioeconomic Evaluation of Addictions Treatment” to state and local leaders early the following year.
NAMSDL empowers states by identifying and creating the most comprehensive, integrative and effective model laws, policies and protocols in the areas of drug and alcohol prevention, intervention, treatment, recovery support, overdose abatement and criminal justice.
To strengthen the role of state laws, policies and protocols aimed at reducing substance use disorders in our nation’s families and communities.
I thought I would take some time to express my appreciation for the opportunity to attend the NAMSDL conference this week. I found this to be a very worthwhile experience and was able to gather some valuable information that will help me move forward on some programs I have been trying to implement.
As you may know I had to leave a few minutes early today to get to a presentation that I had in another town. I arrived in town, gathered my presentation materials, and headed to the site of the presentation.
As I got halfway to the location, dispatch put out a call of a 29-year-old female who had overdosed and was not conscious and not breathing. I responded to the scene and entered the home with my Narcan in hand. I administered the Narcan and received no response. CPR was begun on the female without much success. A short time later a second officer arrived and administered a second dose of Narcan and the female began to respond. After ensuring she would survive I left and went to my presentation.
While at the conference, and from researching the information provided during the presentation from the Police, Treatment and Community Collaborative, I read about the concept of “save them twice.” Because of the information from this week’s meeting, I responded back to the home and spoke with the individual who had overdosed and her family. This is the fourth time she has been brought back by Narcan. Because of her struggles with addiction she has not been friendly towards law enforcement. We have had many Narcan saves, but this is the first time we have gone back to offer help.
She was asked what we could do to help her. She stated, “make treatment less expensive.” I explained to her that I may have a solution and that the State was changing the way we approach treatment for addiction. I told her that if she was interested I may be able to help her get some treatment. The individual tearfully expressed her appreciation and was left with a sense of hope. Hopefully Monday we can move forward with treatment options.
It was clear in the conference that you put a lot of time and passion into this problem. I thought I would take a few minutes to share a story where you have helped make a difference. The work you are doing matters and you are making a difference.Chief of a Police Department, December 2018
NAMSDL Board of Directors
Ralph R. Brown of Dallas Center, Iowa, is a Director and Chair of the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws. He is the senior partner with the Brown Fagen & Rouse law firm in Dallas Center, where he has practiced since 1977; and serves as the City Attorney for Dallas Center and Granger, Iowa.
He was appointed in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush as a member of the President’s Commission on Model State Drug Laws, and in 1993 was a founding Director of NAMSDL, which continues the work of the President’s Commission. He was appointed by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad to serve on the Iowa Commission on Substance Abuse (1995-2001). Since 1999 he has served as a Director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free Iowa (and its predecessor, Face It Together).
Ralph was the Secretary of the Iowa State Senate (1973-1975) and Executive Director of the Republican Party of Iowa (1975-1977). He practiced law in Davenport, Iowa, from 1969 to 1972, and during that time served as an Assistant Scott County Attorney, assigned to Juvenile Court. He received his undergraduate (1967) and law degree (1969) from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa; and has served as member of the Drake University Board of Trustees (1970-1978).
He was appointed by Governor Robert D. Ray as a member of the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women (1969-1975), and from 1976-1977 he chaired the Iowa Voter Registration Commission. He was appointed by two U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture to serve on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Citizens Advisory Committee on Equal Opportunity (1984-1993). He was a United States Presidential Elector in 1972; an Alternate Delegate to the 1980 and 1984 Republican National Conventions and a Delegate to the 1988 Republican National Convention.
Chief Jenkins career in the justice system spanned almost 40 years. He retired as the chief probation officer for San Diego County, where he oversaw a department of more than 1,300 staff who provided supervision and services to more than 13,000 adult and 2,500 juvenile offenders. Over the course of his career Jenkins developed expertise in the use of evidence-based practices for community supervision and gained more than 20 years of experience working in drug courts and collaborative justice programs.
He has served on a number of national boards including the National Association of Drug Court Professionals and Council of State Governments (CSG)/Justice Center. He is a former chair of the Orange County Drug Court Oversite Committee and also served on California’s Judicial Council’s Collaborative Justice Courts Advisory Committee.
Chief Jenkins is a past President of the Chief Probation Officers of California and former Vice President of the American Probation and Parole Association. He currently sits on the National Center for DWI Courts’s DWI Court Task Force, and was appointed by California Governor Jerry Brown to the Council on Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health, and the California Legislature to the California Prison Industry Authority. Chief Jenkins serves now as a Senior Policy Advisor for the CSG Justice Center and is also an adjunct instructor in criminal justice. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of California, Irvine and a Master’s degree in criminal justice from California State University, Long Beach.
Patricia Clay currently serves as the Executive Director of Treatment Communities of America (TCA), she has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from George Mason University, Master’s degree in Counseling from Assumption College and a Bachelor of Arts degree In Psychology from the University of Massachusetts. Mrs. Clay has over 30 years of experience in the behavioral health field and has been previously employed by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, as the Administrator for the Rappahannock Regional Adult and Juvenile Drug Treatment Court programs, Social Worker III, In Home Therapist, Family Service Officer / Court Mediator (in the Probate & Family Court), State Probation Officer, and Addiction Specialist. Mrs. Clay is married to William “Lacy” Clay and has two children, two bonus children and a granddaughter.
Elected by the voters of District 4 on March 15, 2005, Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter is committed to efficient and effective county services, eliminating disparities in outcomes for diverse populations and raising grassroots awareness of county decision-making processes and systems.
The first African American ever elected as a County commissioner in the state of Minnesota, Commissioner Carter has also served as President of the Association of Minnesota Counties, Co-chair of the MN Human Services Performance Council and the Governor’s Task Force on the Protection of Children and Chair of the National Association of Counties (NACo) Human Services and Education Committee. She also co-chairs Ramsey County’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Stakeholders’ Committee, and serves on the leadership teams of
the Ramsey County Workforce Investment Board, the Saint Paul Children’s Collaborative and the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood.
Before becoming a commissioner, Commissioner Carter worked as a school teacher, marketing/communications and arts consultant, systems engineer, performing artist and as founding director of the non-profit ARTS-Us. She has received numerous awards for her work in the community, the arts and education, including an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Concordia University – Saint Paul. She is married to retired police professional Melvin Carter Jr., and has three children and eight grandchildren.
Mr. Lee currently serves as the Vice President for Center Point Inc. Mr. Lee has devoted the past 30 years of his career working in the field of behavioral health and substance abuse with a strong emphasis on the criminal justice populations. Mr. Lee’s experience includes the activation of several substance abuse programs in California to include Valley State Prison, Sierra Conservation Center and the Baseline Fire Camp Program. Mr. Lee’s experience includes over 20 years of direct supervision within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, eight in custody Substance Abuse Programs, SASCA Region 1, STOP Region 1, Family Foundations in San Diego and several Day Reporting Centers.
In addition to Mr. Lee’s experience in the State of California, he has also worked within the state prison systems providing behavioral health and
substance abuse, and sex offender treatment services in Texas, Wyoming, Illinois, South Dakota, New York, Florida and abroad. Mr. Lee holds a MBA as well as Alcohol and Drug Counselor Level III Diplomat Certification, and Certification through the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium since 1997. Mr. Lee has held an executive level position for the past 20 years working as a contracted service provider for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation acquiring a compressive understanding of the systems to include contract management, contract negotiations, fiscal oversight and adherence to multiple contractual scopes of work.
Mr. Lee’s experience includes the oversight and management of treatment services abroad in Argentina, The Dominican Republic, Palau, Saipan, Guam, Puerto Rico and The U.S. Virgin Islands. His experience includes work with the United Nations on broad issues such as climate change, protection of costal reefs and shielding the rights of indigenous populations, capacity building and technical assistance.
Ray has been the Deputy Director of the Liberty Mid-Atlantic High Intensity Drug Trafficking Program (LMAHIDTA) since January of 2016. Prior to coming to HIDTA, Ray was the Law Enforcement Coordinator (LEC) for the United States Attorney’s Office (Department of Justice) in the District of New Jersey for 13.5 years. His last five years included being Coordinator of the C-4 Task Force in Camden, New Jersey where two PCHIDTA Initiatives are co-located. Both are comprised of several federal, state and local agencies.
Ray retired in 2001 from the Camden City Police Department at the rank of Captain after 27 years of service. Ray was the founder of the Multi-Agency Life-Line (MALL) in 1993, a law enforcement-centered program in Camden for handling troubled youth, identifying core issues and available resources for the youth and their
Ray is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University (MAS) and an Adjunct Professor in Philadelphia (Drexel University) and New Jersey (FDU and Rutgers University) teaching Terrorism, Homeland Security, Contemporary Policing Issues and other Political Science and Criminal Justice subjects. Ray instructs at the Camden County, Gloucester County and Burlington County Police Academies on the subjects of Supervision, Addiction courses and Radicalism/Extremism. Ray has been active in the field of addictions, prevention, treatment and recovery for more than 30 years.
Ray is married with six children. Ray was raised, attended school and has worked in and around the city of Camden his entire life.
Scott W. Reed
Scott W. Reed is currently an assistant Utah Attorney General, assigned as special assistant to the AG and senior drug and alcohol policy advisor. In his 23 years in the Utah Attorney general’s office, Reed has served as Division Chief in three separate divisions – Criminal Justice, Commerce and Child Protection – as well as the Director of the State Assistance to Narcotics Enforcement (SANE) grant project. First admitted to practice in 1983, he has been both a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney throughout his 35 years of practice. Mr. Reed has passed the bar exam in the states of Utah, Washington and Oregon and has tried criminal jury trials in each of those jurisdictions.
Over the course of his legal career, Mr. Reed has been active in legal training of peace officers and prosecutors and has provided over 1,400 hours of instruction in areas including search and seizure, criminal procedure, trial advocacy,
asset forfeiture and financial crimes. He has been a regular instructor at the Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Academy since 1986, and has appeared as a prosecutor trainer in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, Iowa, Mississippi, Minnesota, Louisiana, Indiana, Florida and Virginia, and has been a featured presenter for both the National District Attorneys Association and the National Association of Attorneys General. He is the co-author of the 420-page Utah Drug Investigator and Prosecutor’s Handbook, and has published several articles in law enforcement journals on drug interdiction, asset forfeiture and constitutional law.
Reed is currently the Director of the Utah Opioid Task Force, serves as Vice Chair to the Utah Substance Use and Mental Health Advisory Council and sits as a member of the Board of the Utah Narcotic Officers Association and the Utah Law Enforcement Memorial.
Gary Tennis serves as NAMSDL’s President. In 1992-1993, he served as Executive Director of NAMSDL’s predecessor entity, the President’s Commission on Model State Drug Laws. Gary specializes in drafting and developing treatment, intervention and prevention model laws, policies, guidelines and strategies.
With the exception of his two years’ service with the President’s Commission, Gary was a prosecutor in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office from 1980 till 2006, the last 20 years of which he served as the Legislative Liaison for the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association. In 1987, as Chairman of the Hiring Committee for the District Attorney’s Office, Gary created the Minority Hiring Recruitment Committee.
Gary was appointed as Pennsylvania’s first Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs from 2012 till 2017, during which time he served as an Officer on the NASADAD Board. He still serves on the Board for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.
Gary was awarded the NASADAD Award for Exceptional Leadership and Support of Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment in 2014 and the National Ramstad-Kennedy award in 2015. Gary is also a co-founder of NAMSDL.
Chief Executive Officer
Cheryl Dondero serves as NAMSDL’s Chief Executive Officer and oversees of all NAMSDL’s financial, administrative and personnel operations. Additionally, she is the primary point of contact for NAMSDL’s initiatives involving Warm Hand-Off of Overdose Survivors to Treatment, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and Pathways to Pardons research and initiatives.
Prior to joining NAMSDL, Cheryl was the Director of Pennsylvania’s Dauphin County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services where she was responsible for developing a comprehensive, community-based drug and alcohol service provider network for all treatment, prevention, intervention and recovery support services. Prior to her county positon, she was the Deputy Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), under Secretary of DDAP at the time, Gary Tennis, where she retired with 35 years of service to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Cheryl received her Master of Human Services (MHS) degree from Lincoln University in 2002. She proudly identifies herself as a woman in long-term recovery and knows first-hand the devastating effects of addiction on her own life, the lives of her family and friends and on our nation’s families and communities. She is passionate about helping others to achieve a life of recovery free from drug and alcohol addiction.
Chief Administrative Officer
Beth serves as NAMSDL’s Chief Administrative Officer. She assists the CEO with the daily management of all financial, administrative and personnel operations. She also contributes to NAMSDL program initiatives where she can lend her experience and technical assistance. Beth’s most recent experience as the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol Education at the PA Liquor Control Board, coupled with more than 30 years of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania experience in corrections, research, program planning and management (juvenile justice and victim services), grants and accounting provides a strong foundation for numerous NAMSDL model law initiatives.
In addition to her commonwealth experience, Beth has administrative and leadership experience with non-profit organizations, working in the areas of training, education and recovery. Beth received her Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology from Albright College and her Master of Science in Organizational Development and Leadership from Shippensburg University.
Director of Law Enforcement and Veterans Affairs
Kevin Smith serves as NAMSDL’s Director of Law Enforcement and Veterans Affairs. He is the primary point of contact for NAMSDL’s initiatives involving law enforcement, criminal justice, military, veteran’s and information management issues.
Kevin has served with NAMSDL for more than 19 years in various roles. Prior to joining NAMSDL, Kevin has more than 30 years of experience in operations and drug and alcohol work with law enforcement agencies, multijurisdictional task forces, state and local policymakers, federal agencies and communities. He has had the opportunity to assist stakeholders in many aspects of the drug and alcohol arena, including policy development, diversion control, prevention and treatment.
Senior Legislative Attorney
Jon serves as Senior Legislative Attorney for NAMSDL, where he drafts model legislation, performs research and comparative analysis of states’ drug and alcohol laws and regulations and provides technical assistance. Among his areas of specialty are criminal justice and health care issues involving novel psychoactive substances/controlled substance analogues, naloxone access, the warm-hand off of overdose survivors to treatment, drugged driving and the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana.
Jon received a Bachelor of Arts in Physics from Illinois Wesleyan University and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was Notes Editor on the Virginia Law Review. Prior to his current position, Jon was a private practice attorney in Washington, D.C. and Charlottesville, Virginia.
Technical Services Coordinator
Jen serves as Technical Services Coordinator and has been with NAMSDL since 2013 in varying roles. She manages and provides direct support for NAMSDL’s IT/IS operations, including the website and cloud-based services, hardware and other software applications. Jen directs and coordinates development of computerized management information systems for the organization and is leading the development and management of NAMSDL’s social media accounts. Additionally, she manages NAMSDL’s information retrieval, storage and dissemination systems. Her role has broadened to include logistic procedures for several NAMSDL meetings.
Jen focuses on the end-user’s experience of both systems, working to achieve high levels of satisfaction, with regards to user-friendliness, efficiency, functionality and reliability of NAMSDL’s resource center.
Prior to joining NAMSDL, she provided similar technical and administrative oversight for a multi-member healthcare company in Iowa. Jen received an Associate of Arts and Website Design Certification at Kirkwood Community College and a Bachelor of Science in Business from Upper Iowa University.
Brittney serves as NAMSDL’s Administrative Assistant in the NAMSDL headquarters office. She provides administrative and clerical support to NAMSDL staff. She handles a variety of tasks in order to ensure that all interactions between the organization and others are positive and productive. Brittney graduated from Shippensburg University with a Bachelor of Social Work. While a student at Shippensburg, Brittney participated in NAMSDL’s Intern/Extern program.
Brittney is a women in long-term recovery and continues to serve others by being active in the recovery community. She maintains her passion for helping others through consistent work with recovering individuals and participating in advocacy opportunities.
Notice of Federal Funding Disclaimer
This website is funded in part through a cooperative agreement from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice and a grant from the Office of National Drug Control Policy. No federal instrumentality, including the Office of Drug Control Policy, the U.S. Department of Justice or its components, operate, control, are responsible for or necessarily endorse this website (including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, policies and any services or tools provided).