Ethan was born in New York City and received his BA, JD, and PhD from Harvard, and a master’s degree in international relations from the London School of Economics. He then taught politics and public affairs at Princeton University from 1987 to 1994, where his speaking and writings on drug policy attracted international attention. He authored two books on the internationalization of criminal law enforcement – Cops Across Borders and (with Peter Andreas) Policing The Globe – and his writings have appeared in most major media outlets in the U.S. as well as top academic journals (e.g., Science, International Organization), policy journals (Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Washington Quarterly, Public Interest) and political publications from the right (National Review) to the left (The Nation).
He is interviewed frequently by media around the world and has spoken publicly in roughly forty states and forty countries. His TED Talk on ending the drug war has over two million views, with translations into 28 languages.
Ethan co-founded the Open Society Institute’s International Harm Reduction Development (IHRD) program and has served on the advisory board of the Open Society Foundation’s Global Drug Policy Project (GDPP) since its creation. He has played a key role as drug policy advisor to the Global Commission on Drug Policy and to George Soros and other prominent philanthropists as well as elected officials ranging from mayors, governors and state and federal legislators in the U.S. to presidents and cabinet ministers outside the U.S.
He recently started a podcast about all things drugs called PSYCHOACTIVE. And he has become increasingly engaged in the debate over tobacco harm reduction.