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What Does Obama Need to Know?

December 16, 2008
by Daniel Guarnera
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Mark A.R. Kleiman, Director of UCLA's Drug Policy Analysis Program and popular

blogger, has

posted a memo entitled "What should the new Administration know about drugs?" He lists 22 points that he considers important for the new president to understand. Some are encouraging (drug use among adolescents down, drug violence stable at levels well below those in the 90s, the development of promising new treatment methods like pharmacotherapy and contingency management, etc.), some discouraging (the most widespread prevention programs have proven inefficacious, the government's data collection is deeply inadequate, Mexico and Afghanistan face monumental drug-related challenges, etc.).




What do

you think the new Administration needs to know about drug policy, treatment, and their effect on health care in America?




This isn't a rhetorical question--the transition team is requesting people submit their feedback and ideas.

Click here to send a message to the Obama health care transition team about why treatment matters and what you would like the Obama Administration to do to encourage it.

Click here to get more information about hosting a health care community meeting over the next few weeks (perhaps at your treatment center), where a group of people can come together to make recommendations.




One particularly important message for the transition team to hear now is the benefit of choosing an Office of National Drug Control Policy director who understands addiction treatment. Since the George H.W. Bush Administration, the drug czar has been a

conservative pundit, a

governor, a

police chief/mayor,

a military general, and a

former ONDCP Deputy Director for Supply Reduction--no one has had a clincial or treatment background. As a result, the

primary focus of ONDCP as an agency has generally not been on improving or expanding treatment (it's important to note that ONDCP has done some very important demand reduction work, such as its recent efforts to expand screenings and brief interventions). But we have a unique opportunity to make treatment the

top priority for ONDCP by appointing someone who is deeply committed to improving America's treatment systems.




The decision about ONDCP director will likely be made very soon, so be sure to share your input with the transition team now!

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Choose Dr Andrea Grubb-Barthwell!

Thank you for your feedback, Deirdre. Do you know if Dr. Barthwell applied for the position?

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Daniel Guarnera

Daniel Guarnera is the Director of Government Relations for NAADAC, The Association for...