Addiction Policy Forum Founder & CEO
Addiction is a personal issue for our founder, Jessica Hulsey Nickel. Both of her parents struggled with heroin addiction, which led to homelessness, foster care and eventually her mother’s incarceration, after which she was raised by her grandparents.
Jessica began working in prevention at 15 years old through an anti-drug coalition in southern California. The next chapters included an appointment by President Bill Clinton to serve on the Drug-Free Communities Commission, serving as a legislative aid in the U.S. House of Representatives, and work to pass and fund the Second Chance Act to help individuals returning home from prison and jail.
In 2015, Jessica founded the Addiction Policy Forum to help families and patients struggling with the disease of addiction. Frustrated by the lack of progress in improving outcomes for those individuals and families struggling, she started the nonprofit with $13,000 from her own savings account and long hours at the dining room table.
Since then, the organization has set out a big mission, grown a team of dedicated and talented staff and raised funds to deploy need programs and resources.
Jessica lives in Maryland and is mom to three beautiful boys -- Conner, Jack and Tyler.