Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Open Letter to Dr. Donald Vereen

December 31, 2008

Dear Dr. DonaldVereen:

I am a psychologist with 30 years experience treating patients with drug and alcohol problems, founding member and twice past-president of the Addiction Division of New York State Psychological Association, trainer and author. See my background on my website,

It is my understanding that you are part of the team advising President-elect Obama on his selection of the next heads of ONDCP and SAMHSA. If that is not so I wonder if you would advise me who is.

Based on reports that Congressman Jim Ramstad is under consideration for heading ONDCP or SAMHSA, in conjuction with a large group of colleagues, I organized a sign-on letter to President-elect Obama expressing strong reservations about Rep. Jim Ramstad for either of these positions. The letter outlines these concerns and makes suggestions about what kind of leadership we believe would be suitable and what direction the next administration's drug policy should take. I am attaching the letter and a press release about it to this note.

At present we have over 430 mental health and substance use treatment professionals, researchers, academics and other concerned citizens signed on. You can see the list of signers at my website. Many are leaders in their fields who you know well.

I am aware that there are other groups, including Friends of NIDA, that have expressed their views on these matters. In many respects we are in agreement with their views but differ in some important ways.

So,I ask that you deliver this letter to President-elect Obama and consider our point of view in your selection process.

I would be very honored to have an opportunity to discuss these issues with you and others on the team. I could also organize a representative group of professionals who have signed the letter.

I look forward to you response and any thoughts about how we might support President-elect Obama in making the best choices for America for these critically important issues.


Dr. Andrew Tatarsky

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