A. Thomas McLellan, a noted addiction researcher, has been nominated as deputy director of the Obama administration’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the Chicago Tribune reported April 10.
If confirmed, McLellan will serve as the chief deputy to presumptive drug czar Gil Kerlikowske, who also must be confirmed by the Senate.
McLellan, 59, has been involved in some of the most important addiction research in recent decades, including the development of the Addiction Severity Index and studies comparing addiction with other chronic health conditions. Most recently, he headed the Treatment Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania.
“I think [McLellan’s] long and rigorous examination of how drug-abuse treatment is delivered is pretty unique,” said David Friedman, director of addiction studies at Wake Forest University’s medical school. Friedman added that recent comments by Obama administration officials about the role that demand reduction needs to play in fighting Mexican drug cartels indicates that McLellan’s job could become very high-profile.
This news summary has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction, April 14, 2009
The position for which McLellan was nominated was first reported, erroneously, as Deputy Director for Demand Reduction. McLellan was nominated for Deputy Director, a higher level position reporting directly to the drug czar.