“In 1988, after being arrested on charges of causing an accident while driving drunk on the Massachusetts Turnpike, he woke up the next morning handcuffed to a hospital bed,” reads the New York Times story on Michael Botticelli. As a result, Botticelli, now the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, emerged from court-ordered treatment for alcohol abuse as a renewed man. He began working with other substance abusers, in Massachusetts and then nationally.
Botticelli became “Drug Czar”–the common name for his job–last year. He is the first person with an acknowledged history of substance abuse to hold the position. Botticelli’s got a big job, with deaths from prescription drugs and heroin up sharply over the last decade. The Obama administration is betting Botticelli, a former substance abuser himself, will be able to make a difference.