The Bible on which I took the oath of office for Deputy Director of Demand Reduction at the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) was my grandfather’s. He was a faithful man to his family, his community, and his new country. Yet after December 7, 1941, my grandfather, who was born in Japan, was branded unworthy of the most basic trust and imprisoned because of where he was from, how he looked, and the accent with which he spoke. Federal agents took him to an undisclosed prison in North Dakota. Now, two generations later, it is the same executive branch in which his grandson now serves our Nation.
For 14 years before joining the Obama Administration, I worked for Asian American Recovery Services whose first mission almost three decades ago was to address the tragic impact of prescription drug abuse that ravaged San Francisco’s Asian American community. At the time, culturally tailored drug treatment services were not readily available for the scores of addicted young adults in the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Witnessing the tragic impact of this threat on our friends and family, our community came together to create a non-profit organization that would help this vulnerable population.
Those of us working at ONDCP continue to work to make America healthier and safer by working with communities like these across the Nation to reduce illegal drug use. Under the President’s leadership, we’ve outlined a National Drug Control Strategy that connects Federal, state, and local governments with community leaders who are working each day to keep dangerous drugs out of the hands of young people.
As a former community organizer myself, I’m so proud to be a member of President Obama’s leadership team at ONDCP. My experience working at the local level has made my contributions to the Federal Government possible, and I am proud of the work we are doing today to help us win the future by preventing and treating substance abuse.
As we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month, our office is proud to count the AAPI community as partners in our National Drug Control Strategy and celebrates the legacy and achievements of AAPIs.
David K. Mineta is the Deputy Director of Demand Reduction for the Office of National Drug Control Policy.