When Chris Poulos was coming of age on the streets of Portland, Maine around the turn of the century, he lived a tough life and made some bad decisions.
After his teen years saw him homeless and addicted to drugs, he served almost three years in a federal prison for dealing cocaine.
Now, at 33 years of age, Poulos is a third-year law student at the University of Maine, and is becoming a leading national advocate for substance abuse recovery reform.
He serves as Chair of the LEAD Subcommittee for the City of Portland, as Legal Fellow at The Sentencing Project, and is President of the American Constitution Society at Maine Law.
He also works with national leaders in Washington DC on a variety of criminal justice policy issues, and will be a featured speaker at a TED×Dirigo talk planned for Nov. 7 in Portland.
At the TED talk, he plans on discussing his long path to law school, the issue of mass incarceration, and the importance of criminal justice policy reform. “I also plan to emphasize the value of perseverance,” he said in an email.
Poulos was recently featured in The Washington Post for the work that he’s doing to change the national conversation on substance abuse, addiction, and recovery. The video is quite powerful: