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Institute of Psychiatry hosts US Deputy Drugs Czar

09 March 2010

Professor Rick Trainor welcomed Professor A. Thomas McLellan, Deputy Director and Chief Scientist White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), to the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP), King’s College London (KCL) yesterday.

Prof McLellan’s lecture: ‘Prevention, Treatment and Science in the Obama Administration’s National Drug Control Policy’ was received by a packed audience of leading research, policy, treatment and recovery professionals including Professor Dame Sally C Davies, Director General of Research and Development and Chief Scientific Adviser, Department of Health; Professor John Strang, Head of Addictions, IoP KCL; Professor Shitij Kapur, Dean and Head of School, IoP KCL and Stuart Bell, Chief Executive, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM). Prof McLellan was accompanied on his visit to the UK by his Senior Policy Advisor Dr Keith Humphreys, who also holds an Honorary Professorship in the addictions at IoP KCL.

Professor Trainor said: 'It is an honour to welcome such a manifestly distinguished and influential researcher, teacher and clinician to King’s College London.'

Professor Strang continued: 'Professor McLellan is an esteemed colleague whose work has impacted far and wide. He has a particular ability to bring people together to promote dialogue – in the political arena, respectful and productive dialogue between scientist and policy-maker.'

Prof McLellan described the rationale and scientific underpinnings behind the demand reduction components of President Obama’s national drug control strategy. The new strategy was designed to focus on gaps in current provision with the emphasis on prevention as opposed to the majority of effort being placed on those requiring intensive treatment. Prof McLellan highlighted available evidence-based treatments which were very effective but not being made use of. He also pledged that treatment and prevention would be placed in the heart of healthcare and the heart of the community.

The three themes which pervade the proposed strategy – evidence-based interventions, community-level involvement and shared responsibility, inform a five-fold demand reduction initiative: create a national system of evidence-based 'Prevention Prepared Communities'; train mainstream healthcare workers to screen and intervene in emerging substance abuse problems; expand and incorporate addiction treatment into mainstream healthcare; create protocols for safe management of drug-related offenders within the community; and collect and report performance-oriented indicators of substance use and use-related problems.

Prof McLellan was enroute to represent the United States at the Commission on Narcotics Drugs in Vienna.

The event was organised by the Conference Consortium, DrugScope and Drug and Alcohol Findings and hosted by the National Addiction Centre at IoP KCL and SLaM.

A podcast of this event is available here:


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