Representative Jay Kaufman’s award winning public policy forum, “OPEN HOUSE”, takes an in-depth look at what the real costs are of the so-called War On Drugs. The forum, the seventh forum of the 19th season, will be held Thursday, February 20th, from 7:00PM-8PM at the historic Depot in Lexington Center (13 Depot Square in Lexington Center).

Joining Representative Kaufman will be Representative Tom Sannicandro (House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Higher Education), Barbara Dougan (Massachusetts Project Director of Families Against Mandatory Minimums-FAMM), and Lexington Police Detective James Rettman. Chairman Sannicandro, an Ashland attorney, was formerly the Chair of the Ashland School Committee and has been an outspoken advocate for legislation that reduces onerous penalties for non-violent drug offenders and focuses on education and treatment options. As Executive Director, Ms. Dougan has helped lead the way for the first-ever reforms to the state’s drug sentencing laws in 2010 and more substantial changes in 2012. She has built a base of over 3,000 local members, including the families of drug offenders, prisoners, advocates and concerned citizens. Prior to joining FAMM, Barb was a staff attorney at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in Boston, handling racial violence and police misconduct litigation. Officer Rettman is a decorated police detective and is the Lexington Police Department’s liaison to the Middlesex County Regional Drug Task Force.

When and why was the War On Drugs launched? What was the rationale for its launch? What are the real costs, both human and economic, of the War On Drugs? How do we measure success in the fight against drug use? Is this battle really being won? What’s the alternative to the War On Drugs?

Find out the answers to these questions and bring your own. Don’t miss this forum February 20th, from 7PM-8PM. As always, the forum will take its shape largely from questions from the audience. Questions can also be submitted in advance at www.jaykaufman.com, or tweet your questions to @repjaykaufman

In 1997, OPEN HOUSE was awarded the prestigious Beacon Award, cable television’s equivalent of an Emmy, as the nation’s best government relations series.  The series was also named the best television series by Massachusetts Cable Television Commission. The OPEN HOUSE series is produced through a partnership between Representative Kaufman and LexMedia which records the forums for broadcast in Lexington and Woburn.