Clinical Coordinator & Professor
The College of New Jersey
Sandy Gibson, PhD., LCSW, LCADC is a Professor with The College of New Jersey. She received her masters and PhD in social work from the University of Maryland with a specialization in addictions. She worked as an addiction counselor for six years in Alexandria, Virginia before completing her PhD in social work and becoming a Study Director at a research institute at Temple University for seven years. There she developed and evaluated addiction prevention and treatment programming, including a Center for Substance Abuse Prevention model program, Across Ages. In 2010 she became faculty at TCNJ in the Department of Counselor Education where she teaches addiction counseling, research and statistics, measurement and evaluation and practicum/internship. During her tenure at TCNJ, she received a contract from Mercer County to direct the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center and recently developed new curriculum that is now used statewide, and a psychoeducation program for adolescents who are convicted of their first possession of cannabis charge that offers accompanying expungement upon completing. She also recently finished a study exploring how the use of Narcan to save someone’s life or have one’s own life saved affects drug use behavior change in the future. Now, she is actively working to promote harm reduction and a shift from a criminal justice to public health-based approach to drug use in New Jersey.
DAY 2 AM WORKSHOP
Decriminalization: Creating a Community Safety Net
This workshop focuses on effective decriminalization and intervention practices that contribute to the safety net of education, resources and support. The presentation will detail how initiatives supporting decriminalization generate outcomes to assist communities repair, families remain intact, individuals no longer have a criminal record and support services to be readily available. US criminal justice policies towards drug use continue to target Black and Brown people, families, and communities -- despite their drug use rates being lower than that of Whites. Today 1 in 3 Black men have been in prison, on probation or on parole, primarily due to racially unjust drug laws. This presentation will detail the devastating, long-term effects on families and communities. The presentation explores national focus groups (including NJ specific data) regarding societal perceptions of decriminalization, as well as review literature on outcomes of compulsory treatment and the economics of decriminalization and discuss how decriminalization will reduce the number of people involved in the criminal justice system, create a climate where people can seek treatment rather than fear stigma or arrest, improve treatment outcomes where treatment is called for, and remove barriers to the implementation of evidenced-based practices, such as harm reduction.
This workshop is approved for 1-hour Renewal Credit/CEU for: IC&RC/NJ-AP Certification Board | NAADAC | and DOE.