Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch
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Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch is the director of the Global Drug Policy Program at Open Society Foundations who previously led the Open Society International Harm Reduction Development program, introducing and significantly scaling up access to needle exchange and substitution treatment across Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Before joining Open Society, Malinowska-Sempruch worked for the United Nations Development Program in New York and then Warsaw, developing training programs for medical, prison and police workers and managing outreach programs on harm reduction, women’s health, HIV, medical ethics, and drug use. She began her HIV work in 1991 as an HIV educator at Mt. Sinai Hospital and at the American Red Cross in Philadelphia.

Malinowska-Sempruch co-authored Poland’s first National AIDS program and has helped formulate policy at the Global Fund, the WHO, the Millennium Challenge, and other bodies through her membership of various expert boards and committees. She has authored or co-authored dozens of policy and scientific papers for scientific journals and book chapters including “Global HIV/AIDS Medicine” and “Public Health and Human Rights, Evidence-Based Approaches” and often contributes to international media publications..

She received the Norman E. Zinberg Award for Achievement in the Field of Medicine in 2007 and the Gold Order Medal from the Polish Ministry of Justice in 2000 for work on HIV in prisons.

Malinowska-Sempruch holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania and a doctoral degree from Columbia University’s School of Public Health.

Entries by Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch

What We Did Right in Drug Policy During 2015

(2) Comments | Posted 28 December 2015 | (03:14)


The tremendous costs of the current drug control regime are by now obvious. The past few decades have seen hundreds of thousands of atrocities committed in the name of the prohibitionist policies - people being kidnapped and disappeared, marginalized, forcefully relocated and killed....

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Can UN Leadership Fix Broken Drug Policies? A Call for Ban Ki Moon in Advance of the 2016 UNGASS

(4) Comments | Posted 16 November 2015 | (18:31)

Last month, close to 1000 advocates, service providers, community leaders, researchers and government representatives met in Kuala Lumpur for the 24th International Harm Reduction conference. This year, the conference took place in Asia to inspire the region to consider drug policies that offer alternatives to the failed goal of Drug...

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Prohibit Globally, Execute Locally: International Drug Laws Made Manifest in Local Executions

(0) Comments | Posted 5 June 2015 | (23:37)

In the first months of 2015 Indonesia executed 14 people for non-violent, drug related offences. It's a mistake to view Indonesia's executions as the isolated actions of a president eager to solidify his position. These are part of a half-a-century-old international drug regime determined to crush anyone and everyone associated...

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Urgent Follow-up Needed as Colombia Suspends Aerial Eradication

(0) Comments | Posted 24 May 2015 | (03:53)

Written in collaboration with Diego Garcia Devis, Program Officer, Global Drug Policy Program, Open Society Foundations.

BOGOTA - President Juan Manuel Santos's decision to suspend Colombia's aerial spraying program is a welcome move that further strengthens his position as an international leader of drug policy reform....

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Collateral Damage: How the War on Drugs Has Ruined Lives, Health and Livelihoods in the Global South

(0) Comments | Posted 30 April 2015 | (21:33)

There are millions of people living in the Global South whose lives have been altered or ended by the war on drugs. Lives of people who never opted-in to the war, some never even knew such a war existed, but nevertheless they have been caught in the crossfire. From an...

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Doctor Drug Czar - Give Public Health a Voice in Drug Policy

(2) Comments | Posted 17 September 2013 | (21:59)

The world is used to identifying the drug war as a US project.

A long-time bankroller and cheerleader for punitive drug policies, the United States is typically viewed as a defender of the status quo.

But change is in the air in American drug policy. The Attorney...

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Drug Policy Reform Is Breaking Through at the International Level

(8) Comments | Posted 25 March 2013 | (09:47)

Change is in the air ... But the pace could be quickened a bit.

While the international policymaking body on drugs has long been stuck in neutral, there are signs that alternative voices are finally breaking through. This year's UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs featured some progress...

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'Legal Highs' and the Dangers of Bad Laws

(5) Comments | Posted 7 August 2012 | (01:00)

A recent UK Home Office report sounded the alarms about the identification of 17 previously 'unknown' drugs that had never before been seen in the UK - setting off a legislative rush to ban these so-called 'legal highs'.

The UK is far from alone. The European Monitoring...

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AIDS Conference: New Voice Needed in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

(0) Comments | Posted 31 July 2012 | (17:38)

The International AIDS Conference, a global gathering in Washington DC of 25,000 people, kicked off last week with a ray of light for those fighting to reduce the spread of HIV.

The United Nations announced the appointment of Dr Michel Kazatchkine, the former head of the Global Fund to...

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Sensible Drug Policies: Will Evidence Finally Overtake Prejudice?

(6) Comments | Posted 20 July 2012 | (11:48)

One hundred years after the first international drug control treaty was signed the failure of the "war on drugs" is indisputable. In Europe two distinct trends are emerging around how countries are choosing to tackle drug policy; a punitive, criminalization approach--which is failing dramatically and expensively--or one based on scientific...

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Online Debate Breaks Global Drug Policy Reform Taboo

(9) Comments | Posted 16 March 2012 | (19:13)

Last year, the Global Commission on Drug Policy called for an open debate on the global war on drugs. On Tuesday night, they went a long way to achieving this objective. A live debate streamed via YouTube entitled 'It's Time to End the War on Drugs'...

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