The U.S. Senate this week confirmed the nomination of Michael Botticelli as director of the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), placing at the helm of the nation's anti-drug effort a state and national leader who is in long-term recovery.
Shortly after his Feb. 9 confirmation, Botticelli posted in a blog titled The Work Before Us, “This is an honor I never dreamed of 26 years ago, when my substance use disorder had become so acute that I was handcuffed to a hospital bed. I accept this challenge with the humility and tenacity of someone in long-term recovery.”
Botticelli, who joined ONDCP in 2012 as deputy director and has served as acting director, was nominated for the director's post last August. News of the nomination earned immediate praise from several addiction field organizations that see his selection as signaling a further emphasis on prevention and treatment approaches in the war on drugs. Botticelli formerly directed the Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Abuse Services.
In his most recent blog posting, Botticelli states that he is open about his recovery in an attempt to change public policy, and that he hopes others will decide to put a face and voice to the disease of addiction as well. He cites President Obama's fiscal 2016 budget request of new funding to address the opioid crisis, as well as the ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as significant opportunities to transform lives. But he adds, “All of these advancements, however, are not enough unless we fundamentally change the way we think about people with addiction.”