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Michael Botticelli, Recovered Alcoholic Drug Czar, Talks Drug Policy

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Drug-Czar-Michael-Botticelli-quoteDirector of National Drug Control Policy, Michael Botticelli, talks to 60 Minutes correspondent, Scott Pelley, about the epic failure that the War on Drugs has been, and what changes need to be made to actually help our country escape the deadly epidemic of addiction.

Michael Botticelli Talks Addiction Recovery

In his interview, Michael Botticelli emphasizes that we should look at addicts as patients rather than prisoners.

When Scott Pelly asked Botticelli what we have learned so far about the failing of the War on Drugs and about addiction, Botticelli simply replied, “We’ve learned addiction is a brain disease. This is not a moral failing. This is not about bad people who are choosing to continue to use drugs because they lack willpower. You know, we don’t expect people with cancer just to stop having cancer.”

Related: What Dr. Ben Carson Thinks About Addiction

Botticelli goes into personal accounts of when he first opened up about his alcoholism, and how he has recovered with the support and help of a 12-Step program. The great news with his appointment to “Drug Czar” is that we now have someone who actually has first-hand experience with addiction and recovery in a position to affect change on a government level. Botticelli has begun to help pave the way to not only helping America begin to climb out of our current drug addiction crisis, but he is also helping to break the stigma of who and what an addict/alcoholic is and is not. It’s about time – a voice louder and stronger than those struggling from addiction needs to be heard before it’s too late. The language of addiction has to change, people need to learn more about this disease, and also understand that the disease of addiction doesn’t affect someone the same way an illness like cancer would.

“I often say that substance use is one of the last diseases where we’d let people reach their most acute phase of this disorder before we offer them intervention. You’ve heard the phrase ‘hitting bottom’. Well, we don’t say that with any other disorder. So the medical community has a key role to play in terms of doing a better job of identifying people in the early stages of their disease, in doing a better job at treating people who have this disorder,” said Michael Botticelli.

Hopefully, as more officials and law makers talk about addiction and recovery, more people will be able to reach out for help and get it – before they go to jail or the grave. Addiction is a deadly disease that wants the addict and alcoholic to suffer alone. This disease wants them to feel like they are hopeless and worthless. Addicts and alcoholics aren’t bad people that need to get good – they are sick people that need to get well again.

There is treatment available for those suffering from the disease of addiction. Times have changed. The heroin addict is no longer just the “junkie” on the street; the alcoholic is no longer the old drunk under the bridge. Addiction does not discriminate. It can affect anyone from any social class, any age, cultural background, religion, or gender. There are over 21 million Americans that are suffering from drug addiction and alcoholism right now. With those kinds of numbers, we can’t keep fighting addiction with jail. We need to start treating it before it completely kills our nation.

If you or someone you love is suffering from the disease of addiction and/or alcoholism, there is help! The Watershed Addiction Treatment Programs, with locations in Florida and Texas, is open 24/7 and ready to help you obtain the life in recovery you deserve. Contact us now for more information on how you too can recover long-term.

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