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October 15, 2012

Expert to speak at Purdue on drug policy

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Jonathan P. Caulkins, a Carnegie Mellon professor and expert in the systems analysis of problems related to drugs, crime, terror, violence and prevention, will speak about U.S. drug policy on Nov. 1 at Purdue University.

Caulkins will give the Moshe M. Barash Memorial Lecture at 1:30 p.m. in Purdue Memorial Union's East and West Faculty Lounge. His talk is titled "Providing a Scientific Basis for Policy Making."

The talk, which is free and open to the public, will focus on providing a scientific basis for drug policy and an analysis of marijuana legalization. Caulkins will touch on marijuana-related propositions that are on ballots in three states for the November general election.

He is the H. Guyford Stever Professor of Operations Research and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University's Qatar campus and Heinz College of Public Policy and Information Systems Management.

Caulkins has more than 100 refereed articles in journals, has authored or co-authored nine books including "Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know;" "Drug Policy and the Public Good;" and "Optimal Control of Nonlinear Processes: With Applications in Drugs, Corruption, and Terror." 

His latest book, "Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know," covers issues including risks and benefits of using marijuana, laws surrounding the drug in the United States and abroad, and the likely costs and benefits of legalization at the state and national levels.

"Neither I nor my co-authors are advocating for or against marijuana legalization," Caulkins said. "Our aim is just to allow voters to make a more informed choice. There are a great number of myths and misunderstandings about drug policy, drug markets, legalization, and so on."

Caulkins has won the David Kershaw Award from the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management, a Robert Wood Johnson Health Investigator Award, and the INFORMS President’s Award. He is a past co-director of the RAND Corp.'s Drug Policy Research Center, founding director of RAND’s Pittsburgh office, and continues to work through the think tank on a variety of government projects.   

The Moshe M. Barash lecture is named for the late Ransburg Professor Emeritus of Manufacturing Engineering and Industrial Engineering. A leader in the field of manufacturing science and engineering, Barash retired from Purdue in 1992 and died in June 2006. Among his major contributions was his pioneering research into the use of computers for factory planning and scheduling, including automatic process planning and computerized manufacturing systems. A fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Barash also made significant contributions to the automated design of manufacturing systems, precision engineering, robot applications, and computer-aided manufacturing.

Writer: Emil Venere, (765) 494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

Source: Larry Sommers, director of development, School of Industrial Engineering, 765-496-6192,  lsommers@purdue.edu

Note to Journalists: A photograph of Jonathan Caulkins is available from Emil Venere, venere@purdue.edu.