Christopher Poulos

Travels from Maine or Washington, D.c.

Chris shares a powerful story of perseverance that traces his journey from federal prison to the White House. 

General Topics






Christopher Poulos is an emerging national leader in criminal justice policy and addiction recovery. Recently selected as a “Law Student of the Year” by National Jurist Magazine, Poulos currently represents indigent juveniles facing criminal charges in the Juvenile Justice Clinic at the University of Maine, School of Law.  Poulos also serves as an advisor to United States Senator Angus King on matters involving addiction and criminal justice policy.

He recently completed an internship with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy where he worked to further the President’s National Drug Control Strategy, focusing on demand reduction. Christopher recently spent the summer as Legal Fellow at The Sentencing Project in Washington, D.C. and chaired the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program Subcommittee for the City of Portland, Maine’s Substance Abuse Task Force.  Poulos also currently serves as President of the American Constitution Society at the University of Maine School of Law, where he is completing his final semester.

Prior to law school, Poulos overcame many obstacles, including tragic family losses, addiction, homelessness, and a federal incarceration. He now dedicates his life to helping others overcome or avoid similar challenges and he supports a public health-­‐based approach to addiction. His work promotes equal access to the law and seeks to end mass incarceration and the collateral consequences now facing the tens of millions of people with criminal convictions.

Poulos was recently featured in a Washington Post story and was named among    "Maine's Most Intriguing People "in Portland Magazine's annual Publication. 

Speaking Topics

Intersection between Addiction and Criminal Justice System

Mr. Poulos shares his professional and personal experience regarding the connection between untreated addiction and substance use and criminal justice system involvement. He shares proven methods to promote the treatment of substance use issues and disorders as a health issue rather than a moral failing that must be addressed through criminal consequences.

Collateral Consequences                  

Having a history of addiction, arrests, or convictions can haunt people well after successful treatment is completed and any penalties imposed by a court are undertaken. Mr. Poulos shares his personal and professional experience with these matters, including methods individuals can employ to overcome these barriers and policies that should be advocated and implemented that mitigate these risks.  

Power of Perseverance

Mr. Poulos shares his personal journey from addiction and federal incarceration to college, law school, and working with the nation's leaders at all levels of government.  Mr. Poulos insists he is in no way unique, and shares techniques, will and strength that he utilized to make his current life a reality.

Never believe anyone who tells you that you can’t go somewhere because of where you’ve been.
— Chris Poulos