Obama Taps Addiction Specialist 

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  Obama Taps Addiction Specialist 

Posted by CN Staff on April 11, 2009 at 09:48:29 PT
By McClatchy-Tribune  
Source: Chicago Tribune 

Philadelphia, PA -- In another clear break from past policy, President Obama announced Friday that he intended to nominate as the nation's No. 2 drug czar a scientist often considered the No. 1 researcher on addiction and treatment.A. Thomas McLellan, a University of Pennsylvania psychologist, will be charged with reducing demand for drugs, a part of the foreign-supply-and-domestic-demand equation that many policy experts say has been underemphasized for years.
"We're blown away. He understands," said Stephen J. Pasierb, president and chief executive of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, that addiction "is a parent, a family, a child issue."If confirmed by the Senate, McLellan will be deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which advises the president and coordinates anti-drug efforts. Obama last month nominated Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske to head the office.Kerlikowske's reputation for innovative approaches to law enforcement and McLellan's stature as a treatment scientist make them "a perfect match," Pasierb said.Although hardly known outside his field, McLellan is regarded as a leading researcher on a range of addiction-related issues.As a scientist at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Philadelphia in the 1980s, he led development of two measures, known as the addiction severity index and treatment services review, that characterized multiple dimensions of substance abuse. The tools, used worldwide, help determine the type and duration of treatment.In 2000, he was lead author of a groundbreaking paper that compared drug addiction with chronic medical conditions.When diabetes or asthma patients relapsed after treatment ends, he argued, doctors concluded that intervention worked and that treatment needed to be continual."In contrast, relapse to drug or alcohol use following discharge from addiction treatment has been considered evidence of treatment failure," the authors wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association.McLellan, 59, grew up outside Harrisburg, Pa., and did his graduate work at Bryn Mawr College, earning a doctorate in 1976. In 1992 he cofounded the nonprofit Treatment Research Institute to study and adapt promising scientific findings into clinical practice and public policy.He worked with the State of Delaware, for example, to implement a system that tied part of the payments to state-funded treatment centers to predetermined measures for success."I think his long and rigorous examination of how drug-abuse treatment is delivered is pretty unique," said David Friedman, director of addiction studies at the Wake Forest University medical school.People in the field have long been frustrated by drug policies under both Democrats and Republicans that they say were driven not by science but by ideology -- essentially, arrest the drug suppliers and get the users out of sight.Friedman was buoyed several weeks ago when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made an unusual acknowledgment of the role played by domestic consumers of illicit substances."Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade," she said in Mexico.Friedman said that "if that's the way the administration feels about this, then all of a sudden the deputy for demand reduction" -- McLellan's job, in addition to being the second in command -- "becomes a very important position."Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)Published: April 10, 2009Copyright: 2009 Chicago Tribune CompanyContact: ctc-TribLetter Tribune.comWebsite: Articles: Drug War: Just Be Thankful It's Almost Over Picks The Right Man for Drug Czar

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Comment #21 posted by Hope on April 19, 2009 at 10:34:41 PT
There's no need for praise of MJ.
There is huge need to end the injustices perpetrated upon society, families, and individuals by the prohibition and the extraordinarily vicious "consequences" involved in that prohibition. 
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on April 19, 2009 at 08:50:40 PT
I agree with you. I never expected him to think legalization of marijuana was even being considered. He said in 2004 he believed that marijuana could or should be decriminalized. As long as people in states with MMJ laws follow the state law he will leave them alone. I believe he is for harm reduction instead of prison so I am pleased with a new direction. I can imagine how it would be if McCain was President. 
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Comment #19 posted by rchandar on April 19, 2009 at 08:42:36 PT:
Yes, I don't believe he'll turn back on his words, but I SERIOUSLY DOUBT that he's going to one day praise MJ.
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on April 17, 2009 at 15:02:23 PT
I agree with you. Obama knows how to use words. He has to weigh so many things on so many levels. I believe he will not turn his back on what he said in 2004. He would have a lot of explaining to do. I believe what I believe and haven't changed my mind over the years. The only time I wasn't sure what I believed about many issues was when I was young and was sorting them out. Most people don't do radical flips and Obama just doesn't seem like the kind of person who could flip like that. It's really nice having a thinking President. PS: I am not all fired up about Obama now because the honeymoon is over and rightly so but I will let him have time to work this all out. He's been busy.We need to keep plodding along and our time will come.
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Comment #17 posted by rchandar on April 17, 2009 at 14:46:44 PT:
From the Culture War Room 4/17/2009:FoM, please FORGET IT. After all, Drug War rhetoric and actions are scientific, right? Same as socialism and colonialism. All that notion of examining the effects of drugs went out the window with Barry McCafferty in 1995 with his "super marijuana plant" theory. Obama doesn't seem very sensitive to the point: Mexican schwag is of very low quality, with very mild effects. That's what constitutes about 40% of our MJ market in the US, and he simply fluffed it off in pursuit of cartel violence as the problem.Not knocking Obama too much; he's not Bush, and some successes will be in our corner. HOWEVER, study after study in universities in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada all tend to incriminate "skunk"--high potency, hydroponically grown weed. To think that this new Puck isn't going to tout stats like those is crazy. What it will translate into for the layman: protect our children, the time-honored value of politics. There are some very good research books out there on today's MJ, but we must recognize that science is a continuing variable in our efforts, that it will hardly be ignored by our opponents. One other poster demanded that MJ be removed from Schedule I. I think that's a very fair and reasonable demand. Very much so. Otherwise, Holder's decision is discretionary, and less than legally binding. Still, let us remember that science has continually been employed within systems that are unjust and unreasonable, and promote lies that we are forced to stomach. Governments today depend upon us being relatively ignorant, so they can ply us with their objectives. If we remain behind the principle of this being a civil/human rights issue, fine. But then, we should not be shy of aggressively pushing for good, honest research that undermines the Schedule I theory: that our plant has no medical value and is dangerous.--rchandar
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Comment #16 posted by rchandar on April 17, 2009 at 09:49:16 PT:
From the Culture War Room 4/17/09:BGreen, isn't there some way we could explain to these motherf #kers that cops with unlimited and unrestrained arrest powers can never be fair in meting out justice for "chronic health problems?" Or that this is really a complete falsehood, that will encourage prohibitionists to preach subjective moral platforms in a "treatment" center? Or that rehabilitation services are very unequal, depending upon your race, your economic status, and your criminal history?I'm not very moved by this move. "Reducing the demand for drugs" was exactly what Bush proposed in 2000. It's a lie, he doesn't take the necessity for reform seriously. What it means is that people in some states will have rights and people in others won't.I think the only good thing coming out of Obama's term for us is that more states are considering decriminalization measures. But that's going to be an unequal world, where many people--specifically, people who live in the Southern states--can expect more preaching, more finger-waving, and more insulting, humiliating intrusions into their family and social lives.--rchandar 
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on April 13, 2009 at 16:31:05 PT
Prof McLellanTo Join Obama Administration
Psychiatry Prof McLellan, Kalpen Modi Selected To Join Obama Administration***McLellan chosen for Office of Natl. Drug Control Policy, Modi to serve in Office of Public Liaison.By Calum Davey Penn professors' involvement in the Obama administration didn't stop at the transition team, as evidenced by the announcement of several new appointments last week.Psychiatry professor Thomas McLellan will become the deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, according to a press release from the White House.The White House release described McLellan as "one of the nation's leading experts on addiction and substance abuse."He is accredited with developing the two most widely used methods for assessing addiction and treatments.If confirmed by the Senate, McLellan will advise the president and coordinate anti-drug efforts.He joins a number of scientists in Obama's administration, including Secretary for Energy and Nobel Laureate Steven Chu.With a focus on a better understanding of the factors that lead to treatment success, McLellan has published over 400 articles on addiction research.His research is directed toward treating addiction as a disease and working to reduce the stigma associated with substance abuse.In 2000, he published an article that compared drug addiction to chronic disease and contrasted attitudes to their treatment.In addition to his position at Penn, he is the CEO of the Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia, a not-for-profit institute dedicated to reducing America's dependence on alcohol and drugs.McLellan already serves in an advisory capacity for the Office of National Drug Control Policy and also the World Health Organization, among others.McLellan's appointment follows the announcement that actor and former adjunct professor in the Asian American Studies Department Kalpen Modi - screen name Kal Penn - will serve as associate director of the Office of Public Liaison.Modi, who also starred in the television series House, taught ASAM 109: "Images of Asian Americans in the Media" at Penn last year.Modi's position will place him at the center of what Obama's Web site describes as "the front door to the White House."Copyright: 2009 The Daily PennsylvanianURL:
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Comment #14 posted by Question Authority on April 13, 2009 at 14:01:05 PT
What about Schedule I???
The foreshadowing of the present administration's policies
worry me.This is not why I voted for Obama in 2008.If Pres. Obama does not remove cannabis from the Federal
Schedule I, then I don't trust him, his AG or his SecOfState! They are playing with lives and in that, they
are no better than Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Clinton & Bush!This is the question with which we should bombard him. All
else is BS.President Obama, when will you remove Cannabis from 
Schedule I?
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Comment #13 posted by The GCW on April 11, 2009 at 23:08:48 PT
To help answer that question...
To help know where He's coming from, I want to know if He thinks alcohol should be prohibited.Responsible use of cannnabis can more closely be compared to beer, wine and whiskey than Diabetes and Asthma.Under what circumstances does He think an alcoholic may / should be held / forced against their will into addiction treatment? 
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on April 11, 2009 at 17:23:43 PT
I agree with you.
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Comment #11 posted by BGreen on April 11, 2009 at 17:19:05 PT
My thoughts on McLellan
McClellen keeps equating drug addiction to chronic illnesses such as Diabetes and Asthma, and insists that we should treat the drug addict as we treat the diabetics and asthmatics.OK, that's brilliant, provided that McClellan doesn't define every cannabis user as a drug addict.Let's assume he does. How does that affect us?I would like to believe that McClellan is smart enough and pragmatic enough not to suggest we round up diabetics and asthmatics with the laser aimed automatic weapons so commonly deployed against us for the innocent cannabis plant.Only a complete fool would round up Wilford Brimley just because the rotund old actor has the diabetes. :)Time will tell, of course, but if McClellan is for leaving cannabis users alone unless they ask for help, then providing that help without the threat of incarceration or violent coercion, then he's got my thumbs up.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on April 11, 2009 at 17:06:55 PT
I think it depends on how a person measures success. I am pleased that it is going towards harm reduction instead of prison. I don't include marijuana in any treatment issue personally and I don't think drug testing should be used as a way to treat anyone for anything. That's a control mechanism and not helpful at all. It makes people angry and can break a person's spirit when they are controlled that way. Help is help and control is wrong. 
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Comment #9 posted by Dagman11 on April 11, 2009 at 16:58:38 PT
FOM or anyone else who can answer
Does this appointment help our cause or hurt it? Or is it too early to say? Thanks guys.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on April 11, 2009 at 15:29:12 PT
Just Another Thought
I really don't know how bad the overall drug problem is now but I assume the problem is with young people getting addicted to pain pills. It seems illegal legal drugs are what people want to do or so I've been told.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on April 11, 2009 at 14:55:40 PT
Good Guy or Bad Guy
I don't know. I hope he is skilled enough to know there is a difference between hard drugs and marijuana. There were only a few drugs that were an issue back in the 70s. One was heroin because so many soldiers came home addicted to heroin and drugs like reds etc. LSD was not an issue and even though Meth was a big thing it wasn't as worrisome as heroin. Coke came after Meth and became an issue and Meth just went away. 
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Comment #6 posted by SkatMan on April 11, 2009 at 14:22:47 PT:
Answer Your Own Question
Good and bad are purely normative terms. And some could say that this dualist view is too simplistic. Which do you think he is?
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Comment #5 posted by John Tyler on April 11, 2009 at 14:20:03 PT
good or bad
So, is McLellan a good guy or a bad guy? 
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on April 11, 2009 at 13:15:22 PT
Another Comment
I am from that area of PA and about the age of McLellan. Back in the 70s drugs were separated from marijuana in perception. Treatment wasn't considered for marijuana users since most people thought it would be decriminalized. It was a time of awakening and soon it was stopped. I was sorry to see it all change.
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Comment #3 posted by observer on April 11, 2009 at 12:51:18 PT
Forcing Them to Not Want Cannabis
"Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade,"Government's insatiable lust for power and control fuels prohibition, which makes a weed worth its weight in gold. Go ahead, try for another century to repeal supply and demand. It won't work. Laws which attempt to force people to not want cannabis don't prohibit cannabis any more than alcohol was prohibited by law. "Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade,"Government should be controlled by the will of the people. Government should not presume to be our parent and proceed to infantilize us. We don't need to be told what we should like, and what we can't do in our own bodies. The 'Dear Leader', Government, Der Fuhrer etc. is not our daddy and does not exist to shame and spank us when we are naughty. 
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Comment #2 posted by E_Johnson on April 11, 2009 at 11:03:28 PT
Psychology is not a science
When I went to college, pysch classes were taught under the Humanities not the Sciences, because psychology is not a science and psychologists are not accountable to science either.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 11, 2009 at 09:50:13 PT

One More Step Away From Locking Everyone Up
Have a Happy Easter everyone.
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