Visiting Boston: Inspiration at Roca Inc.

Today I was in Boston for an event with Senator John Kerry to highlight the issue of prescription drug and heroin abuse and discuss what we can do to keep our communities healthy and safe. While I was there, I was heartened to learn that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts will soon institute a new policy to help decrease prescription drug abuse. The steps taken by Blue Cross/Blue Shield demonstrate that everyone, including insurers, have a role to play in addressing the rising tide of prescription drug abuse. 

Untreated substance use disorders and drug abuse touch everyone.  Theystrain our economy, our healthcare and criminal justice systems, and endanger the future of our young people. When I look at the challenges facing America’s youth today, who are competing an increasingly globalized, changing economy, I know that America cannot reach its full potential unless our youngest generation is healthy and drug-free.

As part of my visit to Boston, I also had the chance to hear from youth involved in Roca Inc. Roca is a local organization whose mission is to help  break the cycle of violence and poverty by giving young people a better shot at a brighter future.

Photo: Senator Kerry and Director Kerlikowske speak with AmeriCorps/City Year participants.

Inspirational people like those I met today at Roca are vital to our efforts to reduce drug abuse. We know that drug education works to prevent abuse and to empower young people to help educate their peers. I applaud Roca for its groundbreaking work in creating a better, brighter future for high-risk youth and I look forward to keeping up with their progress in the years to come.


Photo: Senator Kerry and Director Kerlikowske pose youth forum participants at Roca Inc.

To learn more about Roca Inc., read about its mission here. To see the Administration’s 21st century approach to drug policy, read the 2012 National Drug Control Strategy. For more information on national efforts to reduce drug use and its consequences, visit our website at

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