Biographic Summary of Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D.

Author, consultant, advisor to three U.S. presidential administrations, and assistant professor, Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D., has studied, researched, written about, and implemented drug policy for almost 20 years. He has worked in the Clinton (2000), Bush (2002-2003) Administrations, and in 2011 he stepped down after serving more than two years as the senior advisor to President Obama’s drug control director, having been the only drug policy staffer to have ever served as a political appointee in a Democrat and Republican administration. He has appeared since at the Aspen Ideas and New Yorker festivals, on the Organization of American States blue ribbon commission advising hemispheric drug policy, and in hundreds of forums and discussions promoting the ideas outlined in his first book, Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana, published by Beaufort. He has been featured on the front page of the New York Times and in virtually every major media publication and news channel on the subject of drug policy.

Dr. Sabet is the Director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida and an Assistant Professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry. With Patrick J. Kennedy, he is the co-founder of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). He is also a policy consultant to numerous domestic and international organizations through his company, the Policy Solutions Lab. His current clients include the United Nations, where he holds a senior advisor position at the Italy-based United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), and other governmental and non-governmental organizations. He also recently served as the only non medical doctor on the writing committee establishing the official position on marijuana legalization for the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).

In addition, he advises several non-governmental organizations working to reduce drug abuse and its consequences, and serves in an international role as an advisor, in various capacities, to the United Nations and other multi-national organizations.

Dr. Sabet’s regular blog is housed at the Huffington Post and he regularly contributes to opinion-editorial pages, including the Washington Post, New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, and the Los Angeles Times. Two of his op-eds published since 2011 have earned him a “Five Best Columns” distinction by The Atlantic. He is the winner of the 2014 Nils Bejerot Award for Global Drug Prevention, given at Stockholm City Hall by the anti-drug organization chaired by H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden and the John P. McGovern Award for Drug Prevention given by the Institute for Behavior and Health, and Robert DuPont, the founding director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

He received his Doctorate of Philosophy and Masters of Science from Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar in 2007 and 2002, respectively, and his B.A. with high honors in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2001.

Download CV here

Education

 

Doctorate of Philosophy, Social Policy  2004-2007
University of Oxford(Recipient of George C. Marshall Scholarship)Thesis title: “Toward reducing total harm: Analyzing drug policies in Baltimore and New York”
Master of Science, Comparative Social Policy 2001-2002
University of Oxford(Recipient of George C. Marshall Scholarship)Thesis title: “Defining American drug policy: Is all policy local?”
Bachelor of Arts, Political Science (minor Public Policy) 1997-2001
University of California, Berkeley
Graduated with High Honors

 

Full-time work experience

Consultant, Policy Solutions Lab Present
Consultant to various governments and non-governmental organizations on drug policy issues, including a Senior Policy Advisor post with the United Nations. Advised the Organization of American States and many other entities, including community organizations.
Director, Drug Policy Institute, University of Florida Present
Founding Director and researcher at unique, multi-disciplinary center focused on helping policymakers make informed decisions on drug addiction issues.
The White House, Executive Office of the President 2009-2011
(Political Appointment in the Administration of Barack H. Obama; Top-Secret Security Clearance)
Office of National Drug Control PolicySenior Policy Advisor to the Director
Senior Advisor to the Director of ONDCP, Gil Kerlikowske. One of three principal writers of the President’s inaugural National Drug Control Strategy. Involved in all major policy decisions, liaised regularly with the Domestic Policy Council and Office of the Vice-President. Often represented the office to the media and in official meetings. Specific lead on marijuana, “medical” marijuana, legalization, synthetic drugs, drugged driving, and international and United Nations issues.
The White House, Executive Office of the President 2003-2004
(Political Appointment in the Administration of George W. Bush)
Office of National Drug Control Policy
Senior Speechwriter
Served as strategist, writer and editor for public pronouncements, including memos, speeches, press conferences, position papers, and other material.
The White House, Executive Office of the President 2000
(Schedule B Appointment in the Administration of William J. Clinton)
Office of National Drug Control Policy
Writer/Analyst, Office of Strategic Planning
Focused on specific research and writing projects, including a revision of the Clinton Administration’s position on drug legalization.

   

Selected peer-reviewed publications

Sabet, K. A. and Grossman, E. (2014). Why do people use medical marijuana? The medical conditions of users in seven states. Journal of Drug Policy and Practice. Vol. 8. Issue 2.

Sabet, K.A. (2014). Review of The Alternative World Drug Report: Counting the Costs of the War on Drugs edited by Steve Rolles , George Murkin , Martin Powell, Danny Kushlick & Jane Slater. Drug and Alcohol Review. Volume 3, Issue 2.

Sabet, K.A. (editor) (2014). Drug Abuse and Women: Gender Perspectives on Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery. United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Initiative. [monograph]

Sabet, K.A. et al. (2013). Smart Justice: A New Paradigm for Dealing With Offenders. Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. 

Sabet, K.A. (2013). A New Direction? Yes. Legalization? No. Drawing on Evidence to Determine Where to Go in Drug Policy. Oregon Law Review. Volume 91, Issue 4.

Sabet, K.A. (2013). Much Ado About Nothing: Why Rescheduling Won’t Solve Advocates’ Medical Marijuana Problem. Wayne State Law Review. Volume 58, Issue 1.

Sabet, K.A., Cohen, M., Thau, S. (2012). Cannabis: A Short Review. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. [monograph]

Sabet, K.A. and Kerlikowske, R. G. (2011). Commentary on Voas et al.: Drug-Free Roadways – Can We Get There From Here? Addiction.  106 (7): 1228-1229.

Sabet, K.A. and Caulkins, J. (2011).  Drug Abuse Warning Network. In Mark Kleiman and James Hawden (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Drug Policy. Sage Publications. [Total of eight entries in this publication.]

Sabet, K.A. and Johnson, B.J. (2008). Marijuana treatment admissions did not decrease after aggressive arrest policies were implemented in New York City.  Justice Research and Policy.

Sabet, K.A. (2007).  The local matters: A brief history of the tension between federal drug laws and state and local policy. Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice, 4, 1.

Sabet, K.A. (2006). The (often unheard) case against marijuana leniency. In Mitch Earleywine(Ed.), Pot Politics. New York: Oxford University Press.

Sabet, K.A. (2006). Harm Reduction and Heroin Maintenance in Vancouver. In AT ISSUE: HEROIN, Michigan: Thomas Gale, p. 7.

Sabet, K.A. (2005). Making it happen: The case for compromise in the federal cocaine law debate. Journal of Social Policy and Administration, 39, 2, pp. 181-191.

Sabet, K.A. (1999). Cannabis sativa as a medicinal application: The need to distinguish between isolated cannabinoids and smoked marijuana. Addictions, Vol. 1999, p 10.

 

Selected media appearances

Author of newspaper opinion-editorials appearing in scores of newspapers since 2000: e.g. New York Times, AP-New York Times Syndicate, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Vancouver Sun, San Jose Mercury News, International Herald Tribune, Seattle Times

Featured in news articles: San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury-News, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Oakland Tribune, Orange County Register, Teen People, Rolling Stone.

Appeared as guest/consulted for news content in major media outlets in the US and UK including: BBC, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, FOX, ABC, CBS, NBC, WebMD.com, HBO, CNN Headline News International, BBC-4, BBC-Oxford, and scores of ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS affiliate television and radio stations.

 

Selected leadership and academic activities

Over 100 guest lectures delivered at major universities

Invited testimony to the United States Congress:

  • December 1996: Entry on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee record on the topic of “medical marijuana”
  • June 1999: Entry on the U.S. House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources record on topic of the “drug legalization”
  • July 1999: Entry on the U.S. House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources record on the topic of “harm reduction”
  • September 2013: U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Marijuana Legalization

 

Awards

Nils Bejerot Award for Global Drug Prevention (2014)

  • Given at Stockholm City Hall by the anti-drug organization chaired by H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden

John P. McGovern Award for Drug Prevention (2014)

  • Given by the Institute for Behavior and Health, and Robert DuPont, the founding director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

George C. Marshall Scholarship (2001)

  • One of forty national winners of prestigious three-year scholarship offered by the British government to US scholars. Initial pool of over 100,000 applicants.

Warr-Goodman Scholarship (2005 and 2006)

  • Single award winner of Oxford college scholarship given to most promising doctoral student (won twice).

National Institutes of Health Behavioral Sciences Training Pre-doctoral and Post-Doctoral Fellowships (2006-2008)

  • Appointed as a pre-doctoral (2006-2007) and post-doctoral (2007-2008) scholar at the National Development and Research Institute (NDRI) to research drug policy under Bruce Johnson, Ph.D.