Friday, August 2, 2013

Director of White House Drug Policy, IDAA 2013 CME , Keystone, Colorado, Aug. 1, 2013

Director of White House Drug Policy

Presentation by Gil Kerlikowske - Director of White House Drug Policy

(These are my rough notes - I was very impressed with his talk, He had a standing ovation from all present.  I hope that the notes give a gist of what all was said.  I share these notes from CME as a copy for myself in a place where I'll find them and hopefully so others can appreciate the breadth and depth of presentations that are part of the addiction medicine and policy components of our continuing education.)

Drug Policy

Formerly police officer
Police Chief in Seattle

2008 - Office of National Drug Policy 

Worked for the President on Drug Policy Issues

“I’ve been called the drug czar but I hate that term”

To see what incredible success there is in the treatment of doctors with comprehensive care was incredible.
“Doctors have moved up to the plate”

“i’ve got to travel around the world and study addiction and policy”

“War on Drugs makes a good bumper sticker but isn’t a solution to a complex disease”.
“We can’t arrest our way out of this problem”

“We produce the President’s National Control strategy.”

President said, “I want the voices of the people of American in this”.  
We met with people all over the country

Developed wholistic comprehensive program.

“One thing I didn’t understand was recovery”.
“We opened up office of recovery”

Prevention, Treatment

“I had a wonderful opportunity to amplify your message that people can recover.”

“We’re removing the stigma”.

“We’re involved in this stupid debate in this country - war on drugs has failed so lets legalize drugs - legalize drugs is as stupid a bumper sticker as war on drugs.”

There are a lot of great treatment programs that work and there are alot of prevention programs that work. It’s hard to get money invested in preventiion.

Affordable Care Act or the Obamacare act is something we’re very excited about.

We need people up to the task with the training to make a difference. We know from loss of life and emergency departments, people coming in with overdoses, we can save alot of life and alot of money.

193 millions dollars a year is the cost of loss of productivity from  drugs

Couple of documentaries get alot of press because they’re about legalizing drugs but they’re not very accurate.  In contrast there’s a very good documentary “anonymous people”.  

2009, May 15, I got letter from the wife of a recovering addict - saw you on tv talking about addiction and recovery, my husband was a dentist, we have a wonderful family, we met in church, -she sent me lengthy letter - showing pictures of family before her husband became addicted to drugs and was unable to work .....March 2012 - came accross the correspondence from your office she wrote, she wrote that she was thankful that people in high position took interest, husband is well now, children are well - human face, positive story - “I’m incredibly grateful for all of you and work you do”.

Questions and answers

Alot of push on mandatory education because if it;s not mandatory it’s not done and we’re really encouraging  - dentist webinar , NIDA, (prescription drug) , NIDA videos on the how to deal with drug seeking patients.
Education in Medical School?

Question re federal assistance?
System of care has evolved for assisting licensed professional, proven to be successful, some states have closed those programs because of the pressure on regulatory boards to be punitive - can whitehouse influence
-answer State level is different from federal level - we don’t want to see state level closing of treatment.

?Drug Court
#of prisoners drug addicts - over half of the prisoners 
Florida - if you have money you can get out
answer - drug courts are very successful and we support that - we’re seeing half the prisoners there at federal prisoner have drug issues but its not a minor amount but for major amounts.
-we’re encouraging at the state level where changes can be addressed for smaller amounts

Campus Recovery
University of Texas
-Stigma - behaviour before treatment
-Rejects have been overturned and are now honour students
Answer - we’ve highlighted sober houses on campus. 
-if you're  convicted of drug crime while on student aid - you can appeal - you can get back into public housing except if you’re a sexual predator or methaphetamine and the latter is the risk of fire in housing.

We’re trying to address the stigma and recognise that there’s been a problem
In police force we have police who are 5 years in recovery are doing exceptionally well and yet someone says ‘they used to have a problem’ so we say
“to err is human - to forgive is against department policy”
We're working to change that.

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