Yesterday, ONDCP Director Gil Kerlikowske visited Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he participated in a town hall meeting with Rep. Ben Ray Luján, who represents that state’s 3rd District and serves as 2nd Vice Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The meeting brought together law enforcement officials, youth, treatment providers, prevention specialists, and tribal leaders to discuss the threat of substance abuse and their shared task to confront it.
Participating in the roundtable discussion, which was moderated by Former Family Court Judge Margaret Kegal, were members of the Santa Fe community, including Dr. Nancy Sanchez from the U.S. Attorney’s Office; Lawrence Medina, Executive Director of the Rio Grande Alcoholism Treatment Program; Lt. Eric Garcia of the New Mexico State Police; former Pueblo Governor Gil Vigil of the Santa Fe Indian School; Jonathan Hale, Chair of the Navajo Nation Health, Education, and Human Service Committee; Moneka Stevens, Program Director for the NM Youth Alliance/NM Forum for Youth Community; and Farmington City Councilman Dan Darnell.
Members of this broad coalition were of one mind on the importance of working together to pursue a public health approach to substance use that ensures timely and adequate care for families, neighbors, military veterans, and children. Participants also emphasized the need to provide opportunities for young people as well as positive anti-drug messaging to counter the steady stream of pro-drug messages in the media.
Insights gained through conversations with people across the spectrum of American society help shape development of the National Drug Control Strategy,the blueprint for drug policy in the United States. Through this continuing dialog, the Strategy becomes truly a national document – reflecting the thoughts, ideas, and hopes of Americans from coast-to-coast, revealing the full scope of our country’s drug threat, and setting a clear course for government action.