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R. Gil Kerlikowske
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R. Gil Kerlikowske was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. In his position, Mr. Kerlikowske coordinates all aspects of Federal drug control programs and implementation of the President's National Drug Control Strategy.

Mr. Kerlikowske brings 37 years of law enforcement and drug policy experience to the position. He most recently served 9 years as the Chief of Police for Seattle, Washington. When he left, crime was at its lowest point in 40 years. Previously, he was Deputy Director for the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, where he was responsible for over 6 billion dollars in Federal assets. Mr. Kerlikowske was also Police Commissioner of Buffalo, New York. The majority of his law enforcement career was in Florida where he served in the St. Petersburg Police Department and later as Chief of Police in Port St. Lucie and Fort Pierce.

He was elected twice to be President of the Major Cities Chiefs, which is comprised of the largest city and county law enforcement agencies in the United States and Canada, and was also elected President of the Police Executive Research Forum. He has received numerous awards and recognition for leadership, innovation, and community service. He served in the U.S. Army where he was awarded the Presidential Service Badge.

He served as the Chair of the Board of Directors of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a national organization that advocates for evidence-based programs that prevent youth from being involved in crime. He has also served on the advisory boards of the Salvation Army in Buffalo and Seattle, feeding the hungry and helping the homeless.

Mr. Kerlikowske holds a B.A. and M.A. in criminal justice from the University of South Florida in Tampa, and is a graduate of the F.B.I. National Executive Institute in Quantico, Virginia.

Blog Entries by R. Gil Kerlikowske

Drug Policy Reform In Action: A 21st Century Approach

(18) Comments | Posted April 24, 2013 | 4:01 PM

The president has outlined his vision of an America built to last -- where an educated, skilled workforce has the knowledge, energy and expertise to compete in the global marketplace. Yet -- for far too many Americans -- that vision is limited by drug use, which not only...

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Toward a Smarter Drug Policy

(85) Comments | Posted February 14, 2013 | 10:53 AM

In Los Angeles not long ago, a man named Michael Banyard ran afoul of California's "three strikes" law. After bouts of homelessness, unemployment, suicidal thoughts, and a criminal record driven by an underlying substance use disorder, Michael faced a mandatory 25-year prison sentence.

Fortunately for Michael, Federal District...

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Every Drug Overdose Is Preventable

(35) Comments | Posted August 27, 2012 | 4:08 PM

As a former police chief, I have seen the devastating effect that substance abuse and addiction can have on individuals, families and communities. Almost 16,000 overdose deaths involved prescription painkillers in the United States in 2009. That is four times the number of people killed by...

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Veterans Treatment Courts: Providing Our Nation's Heroes the Support They Have Earned

(3) Comments | Posted June 1, 2012 | 4:30 PM

The Obama Administration is committed to the health and well-being of our armed forces, including support for the physical and mental health needs of service members and their families. This ongoing commitment is part of the Administration's "Joining Forces" initiative, a national effort to mobilize all sectors...

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Study: More Than Half of Adult Male Arrestees Test Positive for at Least One Drug

(289) Comments | Posted May 17, 2012 | 4:21 PM

One month ago today, we released the Obama Administration's 2012 National Drug Control Strategy, a drug policy grounded in sound research from the world's preeminent drug abuse researchers. This policy marks a departure from the debate I've seen develop during the past few years, which has lurched between...

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A Drug Policy for the 21st Century

(143) Comments | Posted April 18, 2012 | 8:42 AM

Illegal drugs not only harm a user's mind and body, they devastate families, communities, and neighborhoods. They jeopardize public safety, prevent too many Americans from reaching their full potential, and place obstacles in the way of raising a healthy generation of young people.

To address these challenges, today we are...

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Setting the Record Straight: Responding to the Prescripti​on Drug Abuse Epidemic

(41) Comments | Posted March 22, 2012 | 8:36 AM

Last week I traveled to Vienna, Austria, to serve as head of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the organization committed to implementing international agreements to control the abuse, production and trafficking of drugs while also ensuring their availability for medical and scientific...

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Youth Drug Use: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

(109) Comments | Posted December 21, 2011 | 4:04 PM

Last week, I joined officials from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Department of Health and Human Services to announce the results of the largest annual survey on youth drug use in America. NIDA's annual "Monitoring the Future" study, which questions more than 46,000 teens in...

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How Reducing Drug Use and Its Consequences Can Help America Win the Future

(243) Comments | Posted March 21, 2011 | 8:41 AM

Stories about the toll of drug use are often tales of individual suffering; of a career lost, a young life derailed, or a tragic death. Recently, during a visit through West Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia and Florida to discuss the prescription drug abuse epidemic, I heard other kinds of stories that...

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The Obama Administration's Public Health Approach to Drug Policy

(70) Comments | Posted February 1, 2011 | 8:17 AM

President Obama's comments during last week's live YouTube interview about the need to approach our national drug problem from a public health perspective were timely, thoughtful, and well-grounded in what science tells us about drug use and its consequences. Like the president, I am opposed to the legalization...

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