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Botticelli takes personal tone after confirmation as ONDCP director

February 10, 2015
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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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.”



Mr. Botticelli's confirmation to the position Director ONDCP marks a break from tradition in which President's believe that they must appoint generals, police officials, or other hard-liners to avoid being labeled soft on drugs.

By all accounts Mr. Botticelli appears to be the right man at the right time. As we continue shift away from criminalization responses to a more public health approach to drug problems, it is only fitting that we break with the traditional colloquial term of "Drug Czar" for this position.

Mr. Botticelli, henceforth you can consider yourself the nation's Recovery Czar!

John de Miranda

I agree with John 100%

I think this is awesome news and truly shows that people in recovery can be successful.

Although I know nothing of this man, his story is unique, unlike the average politician. I also feel that if you are going to be a person to discuss major changes in treatment care or drug war policy, or anything else related, you should be a person who understands the mind of a person suffering with the disease of addiction.

To know how to deal with the problems, one must have lived with the problem.

I'm a fan,

Robert F. Yoder
Marketing Director