Office of National Drug Control Policy Deputy Director to present Keynote address at 2013 Hero Helps Community Forum

March 14

Michael Botticelli, deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, will be presenting the keynote address at the 2013 Hero Helps Community Forum slated for April 19 at Lewis University in Romeoville.

Botticelli has more than two decades of experience supporting people affected with substance abuse disorders. Prior to joining the ONDCP in November 2012, he served as Director of the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health where he expanded innovative and nationally recognized prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery services for the residents in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

“Drug use in America should be treated as a public health issue, not a moral or just a criminal justice issue,” said Deputy Director Botticelli. “Decades of scientific research demonstrate beyond a doubt that substance use disorders – the underlying cause of too much harm to our citizens – is a disease that can be successfully prevented and treated. The good news is that we are not powerless against this challenge and we are making a difference.

”The Obama Administration is leading the effort to bring an evidenced based approach to drug policy in America that supports innovative programs that expand prevention, treatment, and smart law enforcement efforts.  Together, we can make America healthier and safer.”

The focus of the 2013 Hero Helps Community Forum is aligned with this strategy which identifies the importance of the role of medical professionals in battling heroin abuse. The strategy supports early intervention approaches such as SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment); Prescription Drug Monitoring programs; as well as overdose prevention training and the availability of Naloxone the drug which reverses overdoses and saves lives.

“This synchronized public health strategy is critical to our success in    reducing the number of heroin overdose deaths, in our county,” said Paul Lauridsen, clinical director for Stepping Stones Treatment Center. “We are honored to have the Deputy Director of the ONDCP echoing our message on this vital health issue.”

The 2013 Hero Helps Community Forum will begin with registration at 8 a.m. and will conclude at 12:30 p.m. The event is being held in the JFK Sports Complex on the Lewis University campus, One University Parkway in Romeoville.  For more information, visit the website: