Drug Czar and U.S. Senator Champion Evidence-Based Prevention Programs

By John Lavitt 06/30/15

The Obama administration and a Republican senator teamed up in an effort to reduce drug use.

Michael Botticelli
Michael Botticelli Photo via

West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito hosted a roundtable discussion with Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy at West Virginia University. Sen. Capito, Director Botticelli, and local drug prevention experts discussed efforts to expand evidence-based prevention programs. The goal is to reduce drug use and its consequences.

Director Botticelli explained his reasons for attending the roundtable and showing support for the prevention efforts:

“Senator Capito has been working diligently on this issue and I thank her for her leadership. I am pleased to join so many West Virginia leaders who can work together to stem the consequences of the opioid epidemic," Botticelli said. "Today’s very productive discussion is an excellent step toward reducing non-medical use of pain medication and West Virginia’s overdose death rate. If we work together to implement evidence-based initiatives, the expected results will follow.”

The roundtable with Botticelli followed a drug prevention summit Sen. Capito hosted in April, which revealed the severe lack of in-patient treatment facilities in rural states.

In addition to the roundtables and summits, Sen. Capito is pursuing solutions through legislation. She introduced the Stop Drugs at the Border Act of 2015 with Senator Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) to combat increased heroin and methamphetamine trafficking along the U.S.-Mexico Border. She is also a co-sponsor of The FDA Accountability for Public Safety Act and The Opioid Overdose Reduction Act of 2015.

In a statement about the roundtable discussion, Senator Capito described how drug abuse is ravaging her state:

“West Virginia’s staggering drug statistics are completely unacceptable. One of my top priorities is to bring more attention and resources to tackle the drug epidemic head on," she said. "I invited Director Botticelli to participate in today’s roundtable to discuss ways we can improve drug treatment and prevention programs, and I’m grateful for his valuable insight. I look forward to continuing to work with Director Botticelli and my colleagues in the Senate to end the devastating disease of drug addiction.”

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.