|Seal of the United States Office of National Drug Control Policy, a part of the Executive Office of the President. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Do you know our current Drug Czar?
Drug Czar...it is an interesting, albeit informal title. Since the 1930s the United States has had an official who oversees our drug policy, but it was in 1982 when the United Press International (UPI) reported that the senators had voted to establish 'drug czar;' apparently quoting then Senator Joe Biden. The nickname stuck and has been used regardless of the official title of the office which was last updated in 1988 to Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).
You might recognize some of the former directors, but today we would like you to meet the current acting director Michael Botticelli.
Michael Botticelli brings his own story to the ONDCP
Mr. Botticelli came to be the deputy director of the ONDCP after meeting then Director Gil Kerlikowske. In March 2014, Botticelli became the acting director when Kerlikowske accepted the position as Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This past week President Obama nominated Michael Botticelli to be the Director of the ONDCP.
Mr. Botticelli has a bachelor's degree in psychology from Sienna College and a Masters degree in education from St. Lawrence University. In 1994 he joined the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and worked on projects which established HIV-related policies, substance abuse services including overseeing a pilot program for police to carry Naloxone, and the expansion of the community health centers to treat substance abuse.
With his education and practical experience in the field of substance abuse and treatment, Mr. Botticelli also brings his own experience with recovery and 25 years of sobriety. When he was about 30 he was stopped on the Massachusetts Turnpike and arrested for driving under the influence. The judge gave him a choice: prison or treatment? He chose treatment.
Washington Post's Katie Zezima meets Michael Botticelli
If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here. And read Ms. Zezima's report here.
Maybe you will meet Mr. Botticelli along the way...
If you read some of the related articles below, you will learn that Mr. Botticelli likes to get out among the people. He likes to travel, to meet with state and regional officials. He also likes to visit treatment programs and he is willing to share his story. And it is a hopeful story.