November 1, 2018


Contact: Johan Marulanda,

Washington, DC (Nov. 1, 2018) | The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law welcomes Regina LaBelle as its newest Director. LaBelle will be managing a project portfolio focused on the opioid epidemic, addiction policies, barriers to treatment for substance use disorders, public health approaches to drug policies and how law can promote access to treatment and support recovery; expanding the Institute’s current scope of work in this area.

“Responding to infectious diseases among people who use drugs is an important and often missing component of responses to the opioid crisis and other problematic drug use. Regina’s leadership will bolster our efforts to respond to the HIV and Hepatitis C epidemics. We are excited to formalize our collaboration with her and we have much to learn from her deep expertise in these complex issues,” said Jeffrey S. Crowley, Distinguished Scholar and Program Director of Infectious Disease Initiatives.

Before joining the Institute, LaBelle worked as the Chief of Staff and senior policy advisor in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) during the Obama Administration. At ONDCP she oversaw the Agency’s efforts to address the opioid epidemic and other drug policy issues, including overseeing implementation of the National Drug Control Strategy.

Faculty Director Lawrence Gostin noted, “Ms. LaBelle’s work is incredibly important. Given the current attitudes and policies surrounding addiction in our country and globally, the O’Neill Institute looks forward supporting her as she works to address one of the critical health issues of our time.”

Prior to her work at the national level, LaBelle served as legal counsel to Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels where she provided legal and policy advice to the Mayor on high-profile city initiatives. From 1998 – 2005, LaBelle was an adjunct professor of policy and ethics at the Seattle University Institute for Policy Studies.

LaBelle is frequently quoted in national publications, is a contributor to The Hill, and has appeared on MSNBC and CNN.  She received her JD from Georgetown University Law Center and BA from Boston College.

“I am excited to begin this work at the O’Neill Institute to pursue the timely and important work of removing the legal and policy barriers that stand in the way of treating addiction as a public health issue.,” LaBelle said.

The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University is the premier center for health law, scholarship, and policy. Its mission is to contribute to a more powerful and deeper understanding of the multiple ways in which law can be used to improve the public’s health, using objective evidence as a measure. The O’Neill Institute seeks to advance scholarship, science, research, and teaching that will encourage key decision-makers in the public, private, and civil society to employ the law as a positive tool for enabling more people in the United States and throughout the world to lead healthier lives.