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"Drug Czar" Choices

Not Just Another Ideologue!

Not Another!
1st Choice
2nd Choice
The First "Czar"
How to Get Involved

The news media have speculated that President Obama will nominate Congressman James Ramstad to be Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy -- the nation's "Drug Czar".

Jim Ramstad was first elected to Congress in 1990.  He is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Health Subcommittee and Oversight Subcommittee.  He co-chairs the Addiction Treatment and Recovery Caucus, as well as the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, Law Enforcement Caucus and Medical Technology Caucus.

Congressman Ramstad was named "Legislator of the Year" in 1998 by the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Counselors, in 1999 by the National Mental Health Association, in 1997 and 2000 by the National Association of Police Organizations, and in 2008 by the International Nurses Society on Addiction.

Receiving the INSA legislative leader award for his work on addictions treatment parity.


He has consistently opposed one of the most effective policies available to us for minimizing the societal and individual costs of addiction -- syringe exchange. In 1998, he supported a permanent ban of federal funding for syringe exchanges. In 2000 and again in 2007 he voted to prohibit the District of Columbia from spending its own locally raised funds on syringe exchange programs.

He has voted five times against Congressional efforts to stop the arrest of AIDS, cancer and other patients who use medical marijuana to ease their suffering in states where such use is legal.

On each of these issues he has put ideology ahead of both humane concerns and scientific evidence. 

Equally disturbing has been his support of the DARE program despite the numerous studies showing that the program not only does not prevent drug abuse but actually increases it in some groups of students exposed to the program. In addition to serving on Minnesota DAREs board of directors, he has also been an active supporter of the controversial Teen Challenge treatment program. Teen Challenge teaches that addiction is a sin, not a disease and has been accused of abusing teens imprisoned in their centers.


Positive Qualities

Jim Ramstad is a recovered alcoholic. If appointed "drug czar" he would be the first openly acknowledged ex-addict to hold the office.
He has been a consistent supporter of drug abuse treatment and was a co-sponsor and leading advocate for passage of the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act.