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 Vice-Chair of the Alliance, 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.