Botticelli Nominationby Senator Edward J. Markey
Posted on 2015-02-09
MARKEY. Madam President, I rise to speak in support of Michael
Botticelli in our effort today to confirm him as Director of the Office
of National Drug Control Policy.
The State of Massachusetts, like too many other regions of this Nation, is being ravaged by the scourge of prescription drug and heroin addiction that is breaking apart families and burying communities under a mountain of despair. Massachusetts experienced 114 deaths in December, and that doesn't count our biggest cities, such as Boston and Worcester and Springfield.
Drug overdose deaths fueled by prescription pain killers now claim more lives than car accidents nationwide. Approximately 100 Americans die from an overdose every day.
As a Senator from Massachusetts, I have a deep appreciation and respect for Michael Botticelli's accomplishments addressing addiction during his nearly two decades serving in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. He is a public health and drug policy pioneer, and he lived in my hometown of Malden, MA, while he did this job.
Immediately prior to joining the Office of National Drug Control Policy as Deputy Director, Mr. Botticelli was the director of the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services at the Massachusetts [[Page S847]] Department of Public Health. While he was there, he pioneered innovative, effective approaches to substance abuse challenges. He was responsible for launching a program that expanded treatment and recovery opportunities in local community health centers, including a focus on providing a continuum of care for those suffering with substance use disorders. Mr. Botticelli also expanded innovative and nationally recognized prevention strategies. He established and implemented evidence-based jail diversion programs, reentry services for those leaving State and county correctional facilities, and overdose prevention programs.
Although there is always more work to be done, it is because of Mr. Botticelli's efforts and the legacy he left behind that Massachusetts is in many ways a national leader in addressing the prescription and heroin abuse epidemic.
Mr. Botticelli has been very public about his personal history of struggling with an alcohol use disorder as a young professional and seeking help that has led him into long-term recovery. He recently celebrated 26 years of sobriety, and I applaud him for that.
Mr. Botticelli's personal life experiences have provided him a unique perspective on the epidemic facing our Nation. When he joined me at a recent roundtable I convened in Boston about this crisis, he spoke about it in human terms. He reminded us that there is a family, a loved one, a friend, or a child behind each and every one of these statistics. His openness about his own struggles and his path to recovery helped shed much needed light on the issue of addiction, which has lurked too long in the shadows of shame and stigma. I think his story helps others to seek treatment and begin a life of recovery. He truly is leading by his own personal example.
The drug problems facing our country have changed dramatically since the Office of National Drug Control Policy was created in 1988. Mr. Botticelli has an excellent understanding of the mission of this office, the changing needs of the addiction community, and the urgency for solutions to halting the rise of substance use disorders in this country. I believe he is going to make a superlative Director, bringing his strong heart, keen mind, and Malden, MA, roots to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. I am honored to speak in support of his nomination on the floor today and look forward to working with him in the years to come. I recommend in the strongest possible terms Michael Botticelli for the Office of Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
I yield back the remainder of my time.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.