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Paul N. Samuels, JD

Director & President
The Legal Action Center
New York, New York

Paul N. Samuels, JD, is Director and President of the Legal Action Center, New York, New York and an attorney with more than 20 years of landmark accomplishments in addiction public policy. The Center is the only law and policy organization in the United States that fights discrimination against people with histories of addiction, AIDS, and criminal records and advocates for sound public policies in these areas.

Samuels has been active on many committees and advisory panels and currently serves on the Advisory Council and Working Group on Research Priorities of the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse, and the Alliance Project's Administrative Committee. He was President and Public Policy Chair of the Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers of New York State. His work has been recognized with many honors including AMERSA's Betty Ford Award and two awards from the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors.

Samuels has played a central role in establishing civil and privacy rights by: orchestrating a successful campaign to include people in recovery within the protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; protecting the rights of recovering individuals in the Fair Housing Act, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 and other legislation; and designing and leading the Center's nationwide program to help federal and state authorities and service providers successfully implement federal alcohol and drug confidentiality rules.

Samuels has also expanded drug and alcohol treatment, prevention and research. He and his staff have led campaigns instrumental in generating more than $1 billion in federal and state funding increases for treatment and prevention services since 1996. Samuels and the center played a key role in obtaining a Presidential Executive Order requiring equal insurance coverage for alcohol and drug treatment in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program. He has also been part of initiatives to increase treatment and prevention in many social systems, including expanding programs in drug courts and elsewhere that divert appropriate addicted offenders from prison to treatment, supporting employee assistance programs, and increasing assessment and referral to treatment in the child welfare and welfare systems.

The author of a number of articles, Samuels is co-author of Confidentiality: A Guide to the Federal Laws and Regulations and A Legal Issues Handbook for School-Based Programs. He is editor of Washington Weekly Roundup.

Samuels completed his BA at Harvard College and his JD at the Columbia University School of Law, where he held a teaching appointment for five years. He worked part-time at the Legal Action Center while in law school and joined the Center as a staff attorney in 1979. He was Executive Vice President before appointment as Director and President in 1992. Samuels is a member of the New York State bar, as well as the bars of the United States District Court, Southern District of New York and Eastern District of New York.

Samuels is one of five individuals selected to receive The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Innovators Combating Substance Abuse award in 2002.

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Copyright 2004 The Johns Hopkins University. Baltimore, Maryland.
All rights reserved. Last Updated November 7, 2008

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