By Sean Stielow, M.A.

I served as Policy Intern for the Center for U.S. Policy (CUSP) in the spring of 2023. In this position, I researched policy developments that aligned with the Overdose Prevention Strategy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I also wrote blog posts that summarized recent policy developments.

I am a graduate intern in the Addiction Policy & Practice program at Georgetown University; therefore, I appreciated being able to apply my skills and knowledge to this position. One of the main projects I worked on for CUSP was drafting a document that summarized all the federal drug policy developments, fiscal year 2023 appropriations for federal substance use disorder programs, and significant research studies from the past year. This project allowed me to stay up to date on practically everything that is happening in the realm of drug policy. Many pieces of legislation were included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023.

Before this internship, I cannot say I had read through laws. However, working on the policy development project helped me feel comfortable reading legislation and summarizing it. It even helped me in my graduate program. In one of my classes, I recently drafted a policy proposal for changes to Medicare. As part of my research, I had to read through part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While this process may have been daunting before my internship, I easily incorporated the information into my class presentation.

My trip to Atlanta for the Rx and Illicit Drug Summit was the culmination of my internship. It was an amazing experience. On the second night of the conference, I had the opportunity to attend a networking dinner hosted by CUSP. I connected with so many different people and learned a lot about what people are doing in this country to support those with SUD. I left Atlanta feeling inspired and confident that this is the field I want to work in. I’m glad I had the opportunity to attend the conference.