This afternoon, Director Kerlikowske delivered remarks at the National Press Club about drug policy reform and the Administration’s 21st century approach to drug policy. He was joined by three leaders who exemplify the drug policy reform the Obama Administration is undertaking—Dr. Kelly Clark, American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Board of Directors; General Arthur Dean, Chairman and CEO of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA); and Devin Fox, Executive Director of Young People in Recovery.
In his remarks, Director Kerlikowske spoke about the steps the Administration has taken to advance drug policy reform and the work that lies ahead—particularly in the historic expansion of treatment programs requested in the President’s 2014 budget request and required by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
ASAM, CADCA and Young People in Recovery each represent a critical piece of the Administration’s approach to drug policy reform. As an organization dedicated to improving the care and treatment of people with addictive disorders, ASAM trains and educates physicians to enable them to treat substance use disorders like other chronic diseases. With its tireless work implementing evidenced-based prevention programs to communities across the country—and the world—CADCA has been a steadfast partner in preventing substance use disorders before they begin. As an advocate for recovery, Devin Fox is working to lift the stigma associated with addiction by speaking out and strengthening networks of support for other young people sustaining long-term recovery from drug or alcohol dependence.
Dr. Clark, General Dean and Devin Fox represent a broader shift in American drug policy—one that emphasizes prevention, treatment and recovery over incarceration; that pursues criminal justice reform, and is grounded in research and science. It’s part of the President’s broader plan to build an America to last—one where our workers are skilled to compete in a global marketplace, where those who need mental health and substance use treatment receive it; one where our children grow up healthy and safe.