Social work students learn policy lesson through example of Rockefeller drug laws
Social work students learn policy lesson through example of Rockefeller drug lawsNovember 07, 2001Nicci Brownnicbrown@syr.edu
Social work students at Syracuse University’s College of Human Services and Health Professions will study the evolution of New York State’s Rockefeller Drug Laws at the annual Legislative Policy Event on Nov. 9. The all-day event is designed to give those going into the field of social work a better understanding of the way legislative policy is shaped and implemented. It’s being sponsored by the college’s School of Social Work, along with the Central New York Division of the National Association of Social Workers, and will be held in the Onondaga County Legislative Chambers.
Titled “Turning the Tide: Reform of the New York State Rockefeller Drug Laws,” the event will use the Rockefeller Drug Laws to demonstrate how an issue emerges, moves into legislation and ultimately has an impact on social work practice. Event coordinator Margaret Morse says it provides students with a unique opportunity to learn about the legislative process. “It also lets them see how they as social workers can have an impact on the development of public policy,” Morse says.
The event will feature legislators and leaders from the judiciary, representatives from the treatment sector and citizen rights groups who will provide their perspectives on the challenges, politics and values that shape policies aiming to address drug use and trafficking. Speakers include Jeffrion L. Aubry, state assemblyman from Queens, and John C. Tunney, Steuben County district attorney and president of the New York State District Attorney’s Association. State Sen. Nancy Larraine Hoffmann will give her perspective on how policy is created.
SU professor of social work Eric Kingson says it’s an important opportunity for students to gain first-hand information. “There’s a long tradition in social work –dating back to Jane Addams and the Settlement House Movement-of social workers participating through research, advocacy and political reform, in the development and implementation of policies that strengthen individual, family and community life. This annual legislative event is one of several ways that the school uses to connect our students with this tradition.”
The College of Human Services and Health Professions brings together Syracuse University’s professional programs in Child and Family Studies, Nursing, Nutrition and Hospitality Management and Social Work in an environment of cross-disciplinary teaching, research, practice and service. Through classroom learning and hands-on experience, students in the college are prepared for active and influential careers in the helping professions.