2013 Advocates for Action

Across America, individuals are doing extraordinary things to improve the health and safety of their communities. This year, ONDCP is honoring a select number of individuals who are taking steps to put the National Drug Control Strategy into action. Whether it is developing groundbreaking programs to break the cycle of drug use and crime, conducting innovative research that expands our understanding of how drugs affect the human body, expanding treatment opportunities, or preventing drug use before it starts, today's Advocates for Action are making a difference by reducing drug use and its consequences. 

Jan, Mike and Daniel Rozga

Chapter 1 – Strengthen Efforts to Prevent Drug Use in Our Communities
Name: Jan, Mike and Daniel Rozga
Organization: Volunteers
Location: Indianola, Iowa

Working for prevention and education on synthetic drugs.

Mike, Jan, and Daniel Rozga live in Indianola, Iowa. Their son and brother David fatally shot himself in June of 2010 within an hour of smoking K2, a synthetic drug. Since then, the Rozga family has been working to educate people on the dangers of synthetic drugs and working to change laws to prevent the manufacture of these substances. Read the Rozgas' blog post here.

Imani Walker

Chapter 2 – Seek Early Intervention Opportunities in Health Care
Name: Imani Walker
Organization: Executive Director, Rebecca Project
Location: Washington, DC
 

Working to give a voice to women and families in substance abuse treatment.

Imani Walker is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Rebecca Project for Human Rights, a legal and policy organization that advocates for justice, dignity, and policy reform for vulnerable women and girls in the United States and Africa.  Ms. Walker is the Founder of Rebecca Project's Sacred Authority leadership and advocacy program, a national leadership network of parent-advocates in recovery and their allies.  Imani founded the program soon after 18 months of recovery.

Devin Fox

Chapter 3 - Integrate Treatment for Substance Use Disorders into Health Care and Expand Support for Recovery
Name: Devin Fox
Organization: Young People in Recovery
Location: Princeton Junction, New Jersey
 

Working to empower young people in recovery.

Devin Fox has been a person in long-term recovery from drugs and alcohol since the age of 23.  Devin is the Recovery Advocate for the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, an Advocacy Leader for NCADD-NJ, and the Primary Therapist at Summit Behavioral Health in Princeton Junction, NJ. He is also a founding member of the national non-profit organization Young People in Recovery and dedicates his time and efforts to empowering young people to find their voice and reach their maximum potential in life. 

Lieutenant Detective Patrick Glynn

Chapter 4 – Break the Cycle of Drug Use, Crime, Delinquency, and Incarceration
Name: Lieutenant Detective Patrick Glynn
Organization: Quincy Police Department 
Location: Quincy, Massachusetts

Working to save lives and bridge the divide between law enforcement and public health.

Lt. Det. Glynn directs the Quincy naloxone program, which is credited with saving over 100 lives from overdose—giving individuals a second chance to change their lives for the better.  Lt. Det. Glynn is a staunch advocate for wider adoption of the program after all Quincy officers were trained in 2010 to use naloxone to reverse opioid overdoses.  Lt. Det. Glynn represents how law enforcement and public health can partner to disrupt the cycle of drug use, crime, and recidivism.

Roxanna De Soto

Chapter 5 – Disrupt Domestic Drug Trafficking and Production                       Name: Roxanna De Soto
Organization: Executive Director, Alianza para un Puerto Rico sin Drogas (Alliance for a Drug-Free Puerto Rico
Location: Puerto Rico
 

Working with the HIDTA program to educate high-risk youth and promote healthy lifestyles.

Ms. Roxanna De Soto has been the Executive Director of the Alliance for a Drug-Free Puerto Rico for the past 19 years.  The Alliance is a private non-profit organization that seeks to reduce drug use and drug trafficking through prevention efforts. One of these efforts is Prevention Power, a project developed by the Alliance during 2011 and sponsored by the Puerto Rico/US Virgin Islands HIDTA.  In the development of this and other projects, the Alliance follows National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA) guidelines for proven prevention models and strategies based on scientific research.  The Alliance recognizes that early interventions can deter adolescents from high risk behaviors that may lead to drug use.

Albert Brandel

Chapter 6 – Strengthen International Partnerships
Name: Albert Brandel
Organization: Lions Clubs International Foundation
Location: Melville, New York
 

Working to foster international drug-prevention partnerships.

As a career law enforcement officer specializing in juvenile crime and crime prevention, Al saw firsthand the consequences of drug use among young people.  When he was elected president of Lions Clubs International in 2008 he was given the opportunity to advocate at the international level for social and emotional learning, including anti-drug messaging and training, through the Lions Quest program – a kindergarten through 12th grade curriculum.  As Lions International president and then chairperson of the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF), Al met with government officials around the world to solidify partnerships with other non-governmental organizations to expand the Lions Quest drug prevention curriculum into schools in more than 70 countries. 

Dr. Christian Thurstone

Chapter 7– Improve Information Systems for Analysis, Assessment, and Local Management
Name: Dr. Christian Thurstone
Organization: Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Colorado, Denver; President, Colorado Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Society
Location: Denver, Colorado

Working through research to promote evidence-based drug prevention.  

Dr. Christian Thurstone is one of fewer than three dozen physicians in the United States board certified in general, child and adolescent, and addictions psychiatry. He is medical director of one of Colorado’s largest youth substance abuse treatment clinics and an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado, Denver, where he conducts research on youth substance use and addiction. Dr. Thurstone has completed medical training at the University of Chicago and University of Colorado, Denver.  In 2010, he completed 5 years of mentored research training through the National Institute on Drug Abuse/American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry K12 Research Program in Substance Abuse.  Dr. Thurstone’s research on adolescent substance abuse disorders has contributed to our understanding of the impact of drugs on the adolescent mind and has demonstrated the need for evidence-based prevention. 

Ed Wood

Policy Focus: Reducing Drugged Driving
Name: Ed Wood
Organization: Advocate and Founder, Deception Pass 3
Location: Morrison, Colorado

Advocating effective drugged driving legislation.

Ed Wood has become a recognized leader in promoting effective drug per se laws, beginning in his home state of Colorado.   His intense quest began 2 years ago, after drivers with multiple drugs in their bodies caused a collision that killed his son Brian and severely injured his son’s wife.  The drivers received a light sentence based on careless driving rather than driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) since, as the defense attorney pointed out, “It is not illegal to drive with illegal drugs in your body.” Spurred to action, Ed founded “Deception Pass 3,” a network for DUID victims to advocate for drugged driving laws, especially effective drug per se laws. Read his blog post here.

Karen Kelly

Policy Focus – Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse
Name: Karen Kelly
Organization: President/CEO, Operation Unite
Location: Somerset, Kentucky
 

Working to decrease the prescription drug epidemic through education, treatment, and law enforcement partnership.

Karen Kelly has served as President/CEO of Operation UNITE (Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment, and Education) since its creation in 2003. Under her leadership, UNITE has taken a holistic approach to prescription drug abuse across southern and eastern Kentucky, spearheading many successful initiatives aimed at youth and community education; providing assistance for individuals seeking treatment and recovery for an addiction; and coordinating multi-jurisdictional law enforcement responses to drug trafficking and diversion. Read her blog post here.