The President’s top advisor on drug policy, Michael Botticelli, Acting Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), is the featured keynote speaker at a town hall forum entitled “Pain that Kills: Confronting Bangor’s Opiate Epidemic” on Wednesday, October 8 in the Gracie Theater at Husson University. Sponsored by the Bangor Region Public Health Advisory Board, in collaboration with the City of Bangor and the Community Health Leadership Board, the forum highlights a community planning process tasked to develop policy recommendations addressing regional opiate addiction-related issues. The forum begins at 7 pm and is free and open to the public; a pre-event reception begins at 6pm.
ONDCP advises the President on drug-control issues, coordinates drug-control activities and related funding across the Federal government, and produces the annual National Drug Control Strategy, which outlines Administration efforts to reduce illicit drug use, manufacturing and trafficking, drug-related crime and violence, and drug-related health consequences. Mr. Botticelli has been invited to Bangor to offer a national perspective to these issues and respond to questions that have been solicited from the community and through the Bangor Daily News. Ben Sprague, Mayor of Bangor, says "I am so happy that Mr. Botticelli is coming to Bangor to share his expertise. The challenges of addiction and the importance of recovery are on a lot of people's minds in Bangor and I encourage people to attend so we can have a community dialogue."
While initiated through the City of Bangor, the local planning group recognizes Bangor’s role for the entire region, but it is not confined to the city limits. “As Mayor of the City of Brewer,” states Jerry Goss, I encourage our citizens to attend the Town Hall Forum to get involved in the conversation dealing with substance use disorders in our area. The key to success in dealing with this issue is getting people involved in the process.” Next month, the group will be making policy recommendations to the Community Health Leadership Board, composed of leadership from the regional hospitals and health care providers.
Mr. Botticelli has been nominated by President Obama to serve as Director of National Drug Control Policy and is pending confirmation. Prior to being appointed Acting Director, Michael Botticelli was appointed Deputy Director at ONDCP in 2012. Before coming to Washington, Mr. Botticelli served as Director of the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, where he successfully expanded innovative and nationally recognized prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery services for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The Bangor Region Public Health Advisory Board, the primary sponsor for this event, has a standing Substance Abuse Task Force that has been organizing the forum, which is being sponsored by the Bangor Daily News and the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce. Bruce Campbell, Chair of the Task Force, explains “The debut of a video being produced by BDN will be shown prior to Mr. Botticelli’s keynote, followed by a Q & A session with Mr. Botticelli and a local panel of experts.” Those attending the forum are also invited to a networking opportunity immediately following the forum.